In more than 40 years of dance, Ron Jones has encountered many professionals who dread the Christmas season.
"I've heard a lot of dancers complain about The Nutcracker, (but) I've never tired of it," said Jones, the artistic director for the Columbia County Ballet, who performed in his first Nutcracker as the nutcracker prince around 1966.
He later danced with the Augusta Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and numerous companies in the Southeast.
With support this year from presenting sponsor Sports Medicine Associates, Jones' ballet company will perform The New Nutcracker at 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, at the Columbia County Library in Evans.
Columbia County Ballet has performed its own version of The Nutcracker for about a decade. The Nutcracker is the tale of a young girl who receives a nutcracker from her magical uncle.
The nutcracker comes to life to save her from a band of overgrown mice, and he escorts her into the enchanted realm of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her many sweets.
Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker themes are familiar ones during the holiday season, serving as the music for many commercials and as the background score in malls and supermarkets.
Each year, Jones changes something in the show to make it fresh and vibrant to old and new audiences.
This year, there are changes in sets, costumes and choreography.
"With the changes in choreography, the dancers inspire it. I work off their energy," he said.
Most of the Columbia County Ballet dancers are middle- and high-school students, with a handful of college students participating.
As the dancers mature, Jones adds more difficult moves for them.
"Arabian is completely different," he said. "I told the dancers who had been in it last year to completely forget everything they did last year."
This year, Clara's Christmas tree is bigger and brighter than before, and there are new backdrops.
"It does keep it interesting year to year," he said of the types of changes.
Tickets for The New Nutcracker cost $20 for adults and $15 for senior citizens and students. For more information, call (706) 860-1852.
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