Leaps of faith

'Roar of Love' ready for 25th production

  • Follow Your Faith

Even in its 25th year, the Roar of Love, a production of the Columbia County Ballet, offers new insights.

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Director Ron Jones instructs Katie Hansen, 13, while Rachel Marionneaux, 16, leaps during rehearsal for Roar of Love at the Columbia County Ballet studio in Martinez.  Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
Director Ron Jones instructs Katie Hansen, 13, while Rachel Marionneaux, 16, leaps during rehearsal for Roar of Love at the Columbia County Ballet studio in Martinez.

The ballet, choreographed by the school's director, Ron Jones, draws inspiration from The Chronicles of Narnia , the classic series written by C.S. Lewis.

"The older I get, the more I realize that the mercy of God is revealed here," Jones said. "It's a story of redemption."

The ballet, like the book, echoes the Easter story of the Bible.

"It's just become more real for me each year," Jones said.

It has for his students, too.

"This was the first production I ever saw," said Matthew Conway, a senior at Augusta Christian Schools. "I was drawn to it because the dance was great, but it's the story line that really got me."

He dances the role of Aslan, the lion, in this year's ballet.

"It's a story heavy in symbolism. Aslan is a symbol of Jesus Christ. In ballet, you're always focused on the dance, on how things look, but this is much more of a character than I usually play," he said. "It's difficult, especially in a lion's mask."

Matthew says most people find characters they can connect with, which brings the story to life.

"There's the character of Edward that I think tells the story well," he said. "He could be considered a bad person. He makes all these mistakes, and yet Aslan still comes to him and redeems him.

"That caught my eye and drew my heart to this story."

For all its parallels to Easter, the production's approach is subtle, said Jones, who attends New Hope Church of God with his wife, Kathleen.

"C.S. Lewis never beats you over the head with faith. He comes up under the carpet," he said. "You have an opportunity to look and see and decide for yourself."

The production itself offers plenty of visual interest, even for audience members familiar with the tale.

The show evolves from year to year. The costumes are refurbished, and scenery is revised. Dancers graduate to new roles. The music changes, too.

The choreography was built on the music of a Christian band, 2nd Chapter of Acts, which released an album called Roar of Love in the 1980s.

Jones has gone on to add classical works to the show and has built in additional characters to feature all of the school's 300 dancers.

Many start with the production as early as age 3, then perform every year in progressively advanced roles.

Like performances of The Nutcracker in winter, Roar of Love provides a unique opportunity for students every spring.

"It's extraordinary seeing them grow and mature," Jones said, "not just as dancers but also in their faith."

Roar of love

WHAT: The Columbia County Ballet's 25th annual production of Roar of Love, based on C.S. Lewis' classic series, The Chronicles of Narnia

WHEN: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 27

WHERE: Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfair St.

COST: $20 adults, $15 students and seniors

CONTACT: (706) 860-1852 or columbiacountyballet.com

Productions

- The Gospel According to Simon Peter Dinner Theater: 7 p.m. March 27, Crossbridge Baptist Church; tickets, (706) 733-3652

- Barnwell Passion Play: 9 p.m. March 26, 27, 28, Hagood Avenue Baptist Church, Barnwell

- Living Lord's Supper: 7 p.m. March 27 and April 2, McCormick First Baptist Church

- Good Friday Cross Walk: A one-mile walk with praise and song, 10 a.m. April 2, starting at Burns United Methodist Church, Augusta

- The Other 12 Disciples: An Easter drama about 12 women in Jesus' life, 7 p.m. April 1, Martinez United Methodist Church

SERVICES

- Lenten services: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Raise Bridge CME Church, Waynesboro

- Good Friday service: 7 p.m. April 2, St. Mark United Methodist Church

- Good Friday service: 1 p.m. April 2, Jessye Norman Amphitheater

- Sunrise service: 6 a.m. April 4, Old Storm Branch Baptist, Clearwater

- Sunrise service: 6:30 a.m. April 4, Fort Gordon's Freedom Park

- Easter Sonrise services: 7 a.m. April 4, Westover Cemetery; combined service for St. Mark, Aldersgate and Woodlawn United Methodist churches

- Easter services: 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. April 4, Freedom Fellowship

- Holy Week revival: 7 p.m. March 31-April 1; Belle-Terrace Presbyterian with the Rev. Martese Mims

- Passion Week services: 9:30 a.m. Sunday and March 28, St. Luke Anglican Catholic Church; Naomi Williams speaking


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