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Atlantic Dance Academy will stage Ballet Gala at Convocation Hall in Sackville

The Atlantic Dance Academy will present a “Ballet Gala” at Convocation Hall in Sackville. PHOTO SUBMITTED
The Atlantic Dance Academy will present a “Ballet Gala” at Convocation Hall in Sackville. PHOTO SUBMITTED

Dancers will perform excerpts from classical ballet Paquita

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Talented young dancers from Cumberland County and the Tantramar region are getting set to hit the stage at Convocation Hall once again this year – but this time, their show will look a little different.

The Atlantic Dance Academy is breaking with tradition this year and will move away from their annual Nutcracker production to present a ‘Ballet Gala’ that will put some exceptional classical ballet and contemporary dance on display.

Dina Leisch, artistic director of the Atlantic Dance Academy (ADA), said the Nutcracker production has proven to be extremely successful for the studio for the past decade but she felt it was simply time to move on to something else. Her dancers, many of whom have trained with Leisch for eight or nine years or more, were ready to take on a new challenge, she said, and she was confident they were up for the task.

“Every year they are making progress,” said Leisch. “They are dancing better now that at any other time . . . so we wanted to do something a little different, to show they can do more.”

The Convocation Hall performance, coming up on Dec.10, will be Atlantic Dance Academy’s second showing of the Ballet Gala, which was first performed at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton on Nov. 5.

Leisch said the Capitol Theatre performance was a hit, with audience members raving about the show and the dancers following the final curtain call.

“They absolutely amazed,” said Leisch. “They did a really wonderful job.”

The first part of the show features scenes from Paquita Grand Pas, a famous classical ballet. Originally choreographed by Joseph Maziliera and first performed in 1846, Paquita has since been staged by ballet companies throughout the world

Leisch said this will be a real treat for traditional classical ballet enthusiasts. She pointed out that her senior dancers, who train four times a week at her studio, punch way above their weight when it comes to performing classical ballet and mastering the technique of classical ballet.

“They are really well trained and ready to perform at that level,” she said. “It’s absolutely worth it to come and watch.”

The second part of the show will consist of various classical ballet pieces, contemporary numbers and character dances, performed by dancers ages eight and up.

Leisch said this half of the show is “so beautiful to watch” and also received great feedback from those in attendance at the Capitol Theatre.

“Some people cried . . . they absolutely loved it. It was so touching, so emotional.”

ADA is a dance school in Amherst and was founded by Dina Leisch and Helmut Becker in 2005. Leisch is a graduate of the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and danced for many years at various ballet companies. After her career as a dancer, she attended GITIS, the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts in Moscow, where she graduated as a professional Ballet Mistress and choreographer. She worked at the Vienna State Opera Ballet school and also went on to work in Japan, Germany and Russia. After immigrating to Canada in 2002, Dina worked at Danceast in Moncton and was instrumental in the establishment of several Nutcracker performances at the Capitol Theatre.

ADA currently has about 75 students, ranging in ages and coming from various communities throughout the region, including Sackville and Port Elgin.

The Ballet Gala will be held at Convocation Hall in Sackville on Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door, or in advance at the studio or by calling 506 224-0314 or 902 660-3550.

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