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Ballet brings laughter, love to GHS stage

A chance to “step into another world” came to the Camellia City last Sunday with the return of the Montgomery Ballet to the Greenville High School Auditorium.

Part of a continuing collaboration between the professional dance company and the Butler County School System, the one-act “Graduation Ball Ballet” offered the small but appreciative Greenville audience the chance to enjoy a light-hearted terpsichorean treat. First performed by the Original Ballet Russe in 1940, the ballet is set in a fashionable 19th century Viennese girls’ boarding school. Local military cadets have been invited by the school’s headmistress to a graduation ball there.

Mischief-making among those spirited young ladies, flirtations and a secret romance all unfold on the stage, with plenty of exuberant and energetic dances taking place, partnered with quieter moments of lyrical beauty between two young lovebirds.

After a brief intermission, the dancers changed costumes and gears to present the harder-edged contemporary piece “Mardi Gras,” in which the masks worn proved to be both literal and figurative.

“I really felt as if I had stepped into another world watching them. It didn’t feel as if I were here in Greenville anymore,” said spectator Roberta Smith. “When they first came out on stage, I actually felt a chill down my spine.”

Her friend, retired GHS art teacher Priscilla Solomons Davis, expressed her pleasure that a group of professionals would come to Greenville to share their talents.

“This was truly a delight. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in your hometown,” Davis said.

The Montgomery Ballet will return to Greenville next month with an outdoor performance, “Carnival of Animals,” at the Greenville Elementary School Amphitheater. The performance is set for Saturday, March 23 at 6:30 p.m. and tickets will be $10 each.

Any business or individual who is interested in serving as a sponsor for the MB performances is asked to contact Debra Strycker at (828) 244-9352.