Originally created 08/25/06

Augusta Ballet limits season to regroup

At the Augusta Ballet, the show will go on.

The Augusta Ballet, which announced it would undergo a period of fiscal re-evaluation and retooling in April, has announced its plans for a limited 2006-07 season.

Plans include a series of three master classes that include free instruction to local dance students by nationally-known professionals, and a single performance Feb. 1 featuring renowned jazz musician and Augusta native Wycliffe Gordon and the Augusta Symphony. Guest dancers will be brought in for the performance, organizers said.

The Augusta Ballet will not be staging The Nutcracker.

Shell Berry, the president of the Augusta Ballet board of trustees, said the current goal of the Augusta Ballet is to eliminate the organization's debts and to redefine its artistic goals. She said that while the decreased programming allows them the time and money needed to start working toward those goals, it is still important that the Augusta Ballet is seen as an active entity.

"Our mission is still to provide dance programming to the CSRA," she said. "That's why we have scheduled the stage production as well as the master classes."

Although the performance has been booked, Ms. Berry said the ballet is awaiting the final contracts for the master classes, and that names and dates should be available in the next two weeks. The master classes, she said, will be as important as the performance in terms of promoting Augusta Ballet awareness. She said the free classes will be open to all local dancers.

"The approach we are taking is one of great collaboration with the entire dance community," she said. "We are asking all dancers, and all dance schools, to participate."

The Augusta Ballet's outreach programs also will include a student ticket price of $5 for the February production.

The board plans to expand performances for the 2007-2008 season. Ms. Berry said the organization is evolving toward a definite goal.

"We hope, at the end of this road, we'll be able to provide programming to the very broadest audience. That's our plan."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.


Tickets for the Augusta Ballet's Feb. 1 performance are on sale. Ticket prices are $17-$40. For more information, call (706) 261-0555.


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