Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

January 18, 2013

Cinderella

Show makes scholarship dreams come true

VALDOSTA — Three years have passed since Valdosta School of Ballet’s “Cinderella” performance to benefit Valdosta State University Theatre & dance scholarships turned into a pumpkin.

For the past three years, Valdosta School of Ballet and VSU Theatre & Dance have presented a dance show of “Sleeping Beauty.”

Since starting the benefit programs seven years ago, these fairy tales have made many dreams come true.

Brandi Roberts, Valdosta School of Ballet, and Jacque Wheeler, a VSU Theatre & Dance instructor, say that past “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty” performances have raised nearly $50,000 for VSU student scholarships.

Years ago, Roberts led the annual production of “The Little Match Girl” to benefit VSU Theatre. After several years hiatus, she returned with “Cinderella” to raise money for university scholarships. Roberts and her Valdosta School of Ballet keep none of the proceeds. All of the money goes to VSU Theatre & Dance.

“For my students, they are learning a good lesson of giving back to the community,” Roberts says.

Working as partners, Valdosta School of Ballet and VSU Theatre & Dance follow a successful formula of mixing the ballet school’s youngsters with the university’s students. Members of both groups audition in August. Rehearsals begin after Labor Day.

VSU Theatre & Dance students work with the community while Valdosta School of Ballet students learn from the university students.

Valdosta School of Ballet families and audiences can see the results of their contributions. Last year, Marie Harper, a VSU scholarship recipient, played Sleeping Beauty Aurora. This year, Harper plays the title role of Cinderella. She will dance with Ramil Bagmanov as the Prince; he is a graduate of Rudolf Nureyev Academy in Ufa, Bashkortostan, and was a member of the National Bashkortostan State Opera and Ballet Theatre and the National Tatarstan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre.

Regular audience members can also expect many new touches since Valdosta School of Ballet presented “Cinderella” in 2009. New choreography has been created. New costumes have been designed. Certain

Carriage Services of Moultrie has lent a hand.

So, audiences can expect “Cinderella” this year then likely again next year but come 2015, well, audiences can expect a change again but probably not to “Sleeping Beauty.”

“There are many stories about many princesses,” Wheeler says. “So, there are plenty to choose from.”

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