Thomasville Times Enterprise

November 21, 2013

SGB’s ‘TheNutcracker’ features dance extraordinaires

Staff report

THOMASVILLE — It’s time to begin getting in the holiday spirit as the countdown for South Georgia’s Ballet’s acclaimed production of “The Nutcracker” begins. It is scheduled to open on Thanksgiving weekend.

“The Nutcracker” has been a beloved tradition in south Georgia for 16 years. This year’s production includes three of the brightest stars from the world of dance — A Reum Chung, Daniel Benavides and Colton Wall — who will perform the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Cavalier and the Nutcracker Prince.

Chung, dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, is a principal dancer with the Orlando Ballet. She began her ballet training at the age of 8 in Korea. She won the gold medal in the ballet division at the Korean Folk Art Research Center and won first prize at the Daegu Dancing Center.

Chung attended the Korean National University of Arts in Seoul where she won third prize in the Third Seoul International Dance Competition in 2006 and was also a guest performer at the Korean World Dance Stars Festival in 2011. This year marks her seventh year as a professional member of the Orlando Ballet.

Daniel Benavides, also a principal dancer with the Orlando Ballet, will perform the role of Cavalier. He began his training with Anaheim Ballet and furthered his dance education with the San Francisco Ballet School on a full scholarship. This is his eighth season with the Orlando Ballet.

Prior to joining the Orlando Ballet, Benavides also danced with Boston Ballet II and Suzanne Farrell Ballet Company. He has performed as a guest artist with many ballets, including Pacific Youth Ballet, New Bedford Ballet, First State Theater Ballet and Anaheim Ballet. Both Benevides and Chung will appear in SGB’s Nutcracker as a courtesy of the Orlando Ballet.

Wall, who will perform as The Nutcracker Prince, started his movement career at the age of four, studying gymnastics and martial arts. After receiving his black belt at a young age and progressing strongly in gymnastics, Wall then entered the world of dance and never looked back.

He received an AA in August 2013 from Santa Fe College where he was an integral part of the Dance Theater of Santa Fe. While at SFC, he studied under Alora Hayness, Tari Kendall, Sarah Harkness-Sebastian, Jessica Mayhew-Borrero and Melissa Brenner. Wall is completing his first semester at FSU’s School of Dance.

Melissa June, co-Artistic Director for South Georgia Ballet, is thrilled to have such a prestigious guest this year.

She said, “We are so blessed to have such talent gracing our stage here in south Georgia. No only are we captivated by their amazing abilities as dancers and artists, but we so grateful to have them as role models for our students. My favorite part of ‘The Nutcracker’ is standing in the wings watching every one of our company dancers transfixed as the guest artists are performing on stage. You can see the awe and inspiration permeating through the dancers’ eyes to the tips of their tirelessly pointed toes.”

South Georgia Ballet will perform the ballet on Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 1 at 2:30 p.m. at the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium. Additionally, two outreach matinees designed for school groups will be presented on Dec. 2.

Tickets can be purchased by called South Georgia Ballet at (229) 228-9420 or by visiting Ticket prices range from $10 to $20 and reserved seating is available.