dance

‘Beauty and the Beast’ brings magical story of redeeming love

Stories of redeeming love have captivated Ron Jones from his youth.

The Augusta Ballet’s annual Narnia, known for decades as The Roar of Love is based on C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, a classic story of redemption through the sacrifice of another. The company will open its season with Beauty and the Beast, another story along that theme.

“I remember seeing it when we lived in Hawaii, and we left there when I was 13,” said Jones, the executive director of the Augusta Ballet. “It was just so magical.”

Courtesy Augusta Ballet

The ballet company’s first performance of the 2023-2024 season will be presented at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Columbia County Performing Art Center.

“Belle steps in for her father,” said Jones. “She gives her life to free her father.”

 Ultimately, her love also offers redemption to the Beast, freeing him from a curse.

Augusta Ballet presented the story in 2017. While portions are the same as the debut, new passages have been added.

“This is a restaging of Michael Viator’s choreography. I love his choreography,” said Jones. “He is gifted with big movement, big group numbers.”

Viator trained under Jones for many years and has created his own traveling, Christian ballet company called Renovate Ballet.

Jones said Augusta Ballet is pairing Viator’s choreography with Renee Toole’s gift of storytelling. Toole is the lead dance instructor at John S. Davidson Fine Art Magnet School.

Jones said they are also incorporating projections instead of traditional backdrops for this production.

“This is new for us,” he said. “There are a lot of options that come with it. It’s so cool.”

The season also includes The Nutcracker at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 15, and Narnia at 1 and 5 p.m., Saturday, March 23, 2024.

For tickets, go here.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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