New Assistant Artistic Director Ashleigh Whitworth of Marietta has made changes to GMDT’s production, which will be set to music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
“To someone who is used to seeing our ‘Nutcracker,’ it will look like a completely different ballet,” Whitworth said. Whitworth has been affiliated with GMDT (formerly Ruth Mitchell Dance Theatre) since she was 7 years old.
“Now it’s my turn — my opportunity to tell the story as I have always envisioned it. It’s my goal to bring the magic back and to give those young girls in the audience the same experience I had the first time I came to see ‘The Nutcracker,’” said Whitworth, who attended University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
The Valedictory Speaker at UArts and President’s Award winner for artistic and academic excellence of the highest order, Whitworth said changes have been made to choreography in the opening scene, party scene and second act, along with the addition of new characters and some costume revamping and a few other surprises.
“This year, (‘The Nutcracker’) will be a surprise for everybody. That makes it interesting for the dancers and audience as well,” said Whitworth who worked as a freelance dancer, teacher, and choreographer in Philadelphia. For the last 20 years, she has danced in ‘The Nutcracker’ ‘including as a guest performer in Philadelphia.
Two-hundred and twenty performers dance in the play. “Arts has the power to bring people together. The performing arts is powerful,” the 2003 Sprayberry High School graduate said.
Whitworth moved from Philadelphia back to Marietta for her position at GMDT.
“It’s very unique and special to me to see everything come full circle. It’s my chance to give back to an organization that raised me,” Whitworth said.
Show times are Friday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 24 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 25 at 2 p.m. For tickets visit www.georgiametrodance.tix.com. Call (678) 287-9020.