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Ballethnic’s production of ‘The Leopard Tale’ returns after hiatus
by Nneka Okona
March 20, 2013 10:23 AM | 3794 views | 1 1 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye.Nena Gilreath (front), Co-Founding Director of Ballethnic Dance Company, and Calvin Gentry (back), portray the struggle of the leopard during an excerpt from the first act of "The Leopard Tale" at the Ballethnic Dance Studio in East Point Friday afternoon.
Staff / Katherine Frye.Nena Gilreath (front), Co-Founding Director of Ballethnic Dance Company, and Calvin Gentry (back), portray the struggle of the leopard during an excerpt from the first act of "The Leopard Tale" at the Ballethnic Dance Studio in East Point Friday afternoon.
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Ballethnic, an African-American dance company headquartered in East Point, will bring back its signature production, “The Leopard Tale.”

The production will be at the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University Thursday through Sunday.

Showtimes include Thursday’s community night show at 7:30 p.m., Friday’s opening night at 8 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $29 for children and seniors, $39 for the general public and $52 for VIP on opening night.

“The Leopard Tale” was first developed in 1991 and the second act, which remains today, was added three years later.

Co-founder Waverly T. Lucas II choreographed the production and dances alongside co-founder and wife Nena Gilreath.

The show features a set ripe with color and scenery, taking audience members to the heart of the jungle where the leopard thrives.

“When you see it, it is fast-paced and extremely colorful,” said Gwen Davis, the dance company’s communication coordinator. “It’s what I call a dance drama.”

Davis said those who have seen other Ballethnic shows will experience a noticeable difference.

“If you have seen some of the more traditional shows such as ‘Urban Nutcracker,’ those are adaptations of European traditional ballets,” she said. “This one is definitely a good fusion of traditional ballet and African and modern.”

Not only does the ballet feature difference styles of dance, but also features live African drummers.

Vivid costumes, such as slithering snakes, also take center stage at the production, along with vibrant makeup.

Although the set, the costumes, the makeup, the music and the dancer’s movements speak volumes, Gilreath emphasized the importance of dancers using their voices as well.

“As dancers we are taught to just shutup and dance,” she said.

“In today’s world, we are realizing as dancers that we have to have a voice. We have to be able to vocalize our art form because we know it better than anybody.”

The Rialto is at 80 Forsyth St., NW, in Atlanta.

Information: (404) 762-1416 or www.ballethnic.org.

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Aishah Z
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March 21, 2013
I am so excited about the return of The Leopard Tale - it's a production so unique in design and execution. This is a show that is not to be missed!!!
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