For 28 years, performers from the Columbia County Ballet have taken their patrons through the wardrobe doors and into C.S. Lewis’ magical land of Narnia with the production of The Roar of Love.
It’s a journey that never gets old for Ron Jones, the company’s artistic director.
“There’s such an excitement,” he said.
Though there’s always an excitement coming from the core group of performers who look forward to the annual rite of spring based on the book The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, there are several added energy sources this year.
“We have more guys than we’ve had in quite a while,” he said. “They are very enthusiastic.”
Among the male dancers are five students from John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, whom Jones has dubbed the “Davidson Five.”
In addition to the high school students, there are a lot of younger boys who got bit by the theater bug when performing in Peter Pan in the fall. They were recruited as “lost boys” because their sisters danced, but they wanted to dance again.
Also, there are several dancers who grew up and performed in the company from elementary through their high school years and are returning after going to college or being in the workforce.
These alumni are able to teach the younger dancers the meaning behind the movements and share with them their dance experience to give them a richer performance, he said.
“They understand the deeper magic and can connect and network together to make it all click,” he said.
But the main source of the infusion of energy comes from Jones himself.
“I’m back in the studio. I haven’t been able to move and show them movements. It’s been really satisfying,” said Jones, who had surgeries to replace both hips in March and October of last year.
Roar of Love will be staged at 1 and 5 p.m., Saturday, March 23 at Augusta’s Bell Auditorium.
Tickets cost $20 and $25 and are available online at www.columbiacountyballet.com or by calling (706) 860-1852.