'Nutcracker' gets a new twist: New artistic director has big plans for dance theater production
by Sally Litchfield
MDJ Features Editor
sallylit@bellsouth.net
November 16, 2012 12:19 AM | 5667 views | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre in Marietta will open this season's performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ on Nov. 23. Artistic Director Ashleigh Whitworth grew up dancing at the theater and had made some changes to breathe new life into ‘The Nutcracker.’ For tickets, visit www.georgiametrodance.tix.com. Call (678) 287-9020. <br>Staff/Todd Hull
The Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre in Marietta will open this season's performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ on Nov. 23. Artistic Director Ashleigh Whitworth grew up dancing at the theater and had made some changes to breathe new life into ‘The Nutcracker.’ For tickets, visit www.georgiametrodance.tix.com. Call (678) 287-9020.
Staff/Todd Hull
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Dancers Abbey Eskew and Abby Quarles start Act II of ‘The Nutcracker’ during rehearsals on Saturday afternoon.
Dancers Abbey Eskew and Abby Quarles start Act II of ‘The Nutcracker’ during rehearsals on Saturday afternoon.
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Dancer Bradley Rhoton, playing the part of the Wolf, leaps through the air during rehearsal.
Dancer Bradley Rhoton, playing the part of the Wolf, leaps through the air during rehearsal.
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Whitworth gives new directions to her dancers during a recent rehearsal. 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.
Whitworth gives new directions to her dancers during a recent rehearsal. 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.
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In its 56th season of dance, the Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre brings new life to the holiday favorite “The Nutcracker” on Nov 23 to 25 at Jennie T Anderson Theatre, 548 S. Marietta Parkway, Marietta, in the Cobb Civic Center Complex.

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.
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Sad to say
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January 16, 2014
It's sad that Ashleigh has turned the performances into a ego trip, she has made herself the star of the show, taking parts that should go to the hard working students and performing them herself. Ashleigh your time has come and gone. Your are the teacher you should not be taking the stage and preventing the kids from their opportunity to perform.

Quit to ego trip, you are stealing from kids.
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