Close to three decades ago, 35 dancers took the stage at the Bon Air for the inaugural performance of The Roar of Love.
On March 29, between two casts, more than 300 dancers will perform in the 29th annual production that has become a rite of spring for the Columbia County Ballet.
Based on C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, The Roar of Love tells the story of the four Pevensie children who encounter a magical world of mythical creatures and a white witch, who has plunged the land into an eternal winter. During their time in Narnia, the great king, Aslan, returns and releases the land ending her reign.
“It’s the same story, and I never get tired of it,” said Kathleen Jones, who helped her husband, Ron, found the ballet school.
One of the reasons she loves to watch the ballet year after year is to see the children grow through the roles. Their three children performed in it in the earliest years, and now their grandchildren are making journeys through the magical wardrobe.
Kathleen was the pre-ballet director for many years, and this year, she will take to the stage after a few years hiatus to escort her newest granddaughter, Arianna Sylvia, who turned one last month, into Narnia.
Ron Jones, CCB’s artistic director, also has enjoyed that journey of watching dancers mature from the pre-ballet years as toddlers to their high school and college days as strong dancers and changing those roles to fit their various strengths.
He’s particularly excited about the role of the White Witch, who will be more acrobatic this year than in previous ones.
“She’s fearless, and she has a great pack of wolves,” he said. “It’s very exciting to watch.”
There’s another reason the Jones’ never tire of the ballet. It’s a Christian allegory which reinforces their faith and touches their hearts.
Even after almost 30 years, Ron Jones said there are two scenes which often cause him to become teary-eyed - the opening number as the celebrants dancing to O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing and one of the final scenes when the four Pevensie children throw their crowns down in honor of Aslan in the Coronation.
Performances will be at 1 and 5 p.m. Tickets to The Roar of Love are $25 for adults and $20 for students, seniors, military with ID and children.
For more information, call (706) 860-1852 or visit www.columbiacounty