Georgia Ballet to open season at Cobb Civic Center
by Noreen Cochran
October 19, 2012 01:21 AM | 2780 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dancers perform during a rehearsal of Peter Tchaikovsy’s ‘Serenade’ at the Anderson auditorium of the Cobb Civic Center. The Georgia Ballet is opening its season this weekend with ‘Serenade’ and Igor Stravinsky’s ‘The Firebird.’ <br>Staff/Emily Barnes
Dancers perform during a rehearsal of Peter Tchaikovsy’s ‘Serenade’ at the Anderson auditorium of the Cobb Civic Center. The Georgia Ballet is opening its season this weekend with ‘Serenade’ and Igor Stravinsky’s ‘The Firebird.’
Staff/Emily Barnes
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Brandon Funk and Elizabeth Chapman dance together during rehearsal.<br>Staff/Emily Barnes
Brandon Funk and Elizabeth Chapman dance together during rehearsal.
Staff/Emily Barnes
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MARIETTA — Classical music and dance will get a fresh interpretation in the Georgia Ballet’s season opener, a double bill of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” and Peter Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade,” Saturday and Sunday at the Cobb Civic Center.

Choreographer Janusz Mazon created his own staging for Stravinsky’s 1910 work.

“Stravinsky wrote a most expressive and sophisticated score when he was commissioned to create the music for this famous Russian fairy tale,” Mazon said. “My purpose was to tell this story of bravery, poor choices, good choices, love and forgiveness in a way that audiences might be moved to pause and reflect. Stravinsky leads us there; my job was to enable his masterpiece.”

Mazon’s wife, company Artistic Director Gina Hyatt-Mazon, revived the 1934 choreography of New York City Ballet founder George Balanchine for the performance.

“(I hope audiences) are able to enjoy the full expression of Tchaikovsky’s tremendous music through Balanchine’s beautiful and perfectly fitting movement,” she said.

“The Firebird” has its own place in the company’s repertoire — and patrons’ hearts.

“(It) was especially loved by our audiences when it premiered in 2007. We decided to bring it back due to audience demand,” Executive/School Director Michele Ziemann-DeVos said.

Besides public performances, the company will give four performances — two on Thursday and two today — for about 2,400 school children

“‘The Firebird’ is a perfect repertoire choice for students, with a clearly told story that presents a moral lesson involving bravery, good choices, love, reconciliation and respect,” Ziemann-DeVos said.

The company will take the state at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

In addition, the 2012-13 season includes holiday favorite “The Nutcracker,” also by Tchaikovsky, on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 and 2.

“Swinging Soiree: An Evening of New Dances, Great Finds and Tasty Eats,” showcases emerging choreographers on Jan. 25.

“This season is a mix of the old and new, which seems to be relevant with our upcoming transition from the leadership of Gina and Janusz, who have established a firm foundation for artistic excellence,” Ziemann-DeVos said.

The Mazons are returning to the Hamburg Ballet in Germany in stages — Hyatt-Mazon in January, Mazon at the end of the Georgia Ballet school’s academic year in May — to take on artistic leadership roles.

“The Mazons made their performance career dancing with the Hamburg Ballet under the leadership of world-renowned choreographer and director John Neumeier,” Ziemann-DeVos said. “They are being ‘called home,’ so to speak.”

While dancers, faculty and staff are mourning the loss, they are “extremely excited” for the Mazons’ new chapter, Ziemann-DeVos said.

“We are extremely grateful for the beautiful art and excellence in training they brought to the Georgia Ballet,” she said about their roles as ballet masters since 1997 and Hyatt-Mazon’s company leadership since 2003.

The board of directors of the company, which was founded by Marietta resident Iris Hensley in 1960, hope to announce a new artistic director within a month, Ziemann-DeVos said.

“The board is working to find an individual who can match the artistic excellence and acumen the Mazons brought to the Atlanta dance community,” she said.

Performances will be in the Anderson Theatre at Cobb Civic Center, 548 S. Marietta Pkwy. at the corner of Fairground Street. Tickets start at $15.
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