Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross' slip of the tongue proved prophetic for a local arts group.
In January, as the Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center was christened, members of the Augusta Dance Theatre took the stage to perform.
"Ron Cross announced us as Columbia County Ballet," said Ron Jones, artistic director for the dance company, which has since adopted the moniker.
The performing group will make its debut under its new name Friday at the theater.
Jones said he had toyed with the idea of changing the group's name. His ballet studio had been located on Furys Ferry Road for nearly two decades, and until there was a theater in Columbia County, all of the group's performances were in Augusta.
With the opening of the Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center, the dance company has a new performing home, thus the need for the new name, he said.
About 45 dancers, from 10-year-olds through high school students, will take the stage in five different pieces.
The focal piece is the story ballet, The Selfish Giant, written by Oscar Wilde.
Jones' wife, Kathleen, had seen a cartoon of the tale several years ago and thought it would make a wonderful ballet. She urged him to watch it when it aired on television a second time.
"It made us cry," he said.
In addition to the story ballet, four shorter works will be performed. Paquita and Dvorak have challenging moves for the more advanced dancers. Another piece, Great Scott, is "an audience pleaser," he said.
The piece involves several dances, including a tongue-in-cheek tango, a waltz and a "slam bam finale," he said.
The final piece is Sister Suite, choreographed by Peter Powlus, the Augusta Players' artistic director.
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