Steps of Faith celebrates meaning of Christmas
by Marie Nesmith
Dec 13, 2011 | 4149 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cole Thuresson and Jacqueline Glass portray Joseph and Mary in “The Nativity” last year. This weekend, Glass will reprise the role of Mary as the ballet takes the stage at The Grand Theatre.
SPECIAL/Emily Green, Greensquared Images
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For Tonya Veitch, the Steps of Faith Dance Company's production of "The Nativity" will be an opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Along with being the Cartersville ballet studio's office manager, she also helped pen the ballet, which first debuted in 2003.

"[The ballet] is a reminder every year not to get caught up in the busyness of this season ... It's always a reminder that that's not the purpose behind the season," Veitch said. "The purpose is that Jesus came. He was born in a manger, the most humble of beginnings, and he came to do that all for our salvation.

"['The Nativity'] is always a time to come and enjoy seeing the girls as they perform but it's also a time just to be reminded to have that memory that the real reason is all about Jesus. It's not about the presents or the parties or all the different food that you eat, it's really about Jesus."

During "The Nativity," the birth of Jesus will be depicted and the importance of his arrival will be highlighted through the eyes of a child named Holly. Written and choreographed by Steps of Faith staff, "The Nativity" will be performed at The Grand Theatre -- 7 N. Wall St. in Cartersville -- Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

While the production will primarily feature ballet and pointe, the show also will contain jazz and modern styles of dance and a dramatic aspect. The cast will include more than 80 dancers from the Steps of Faith dance company and studio and actors from Allstars Community Theatre Inc. Lead roles will be portrayed by Jacqueline Glass and Sarah Keefe as Mary; Aaron Carter from Impact Dance of Atlanta as Joseph; Anna Martin, Holly Mitchell and Kolie Gilliam as Holly; and Steps of Faith Artistic Director Julie Reeves as the mother. Other key performers will be Rebecca Buran, Amber Leker, Camille Jones and Sara Sharples.

"The story is really about a girl named Holly and learning what the true meaning of Christmas is," Reeves said. "She gets a gift that she's not so happy with. Her mother tries to [tell] her that it's not about the gift that you get at Christmas but the greatest gift of all, which was Jesus. Then the Nativity portion starts and Holly is actually [interwoven] in the story. It's almost like she goes back in time and gets to be part of the Christmas story and gets to see baby Jesus.

"Her friends actually, in the beginning, try to convince her that it's not about the scarf but that it's about Jesus. And at the end, we use the ballet to teach that Jesus is the reason for the season. I want [the audience] to leave with the story of the Nativity and the real meaning of Christmas but also an appreciation for dance, an appreciation for the arts and how we can use the arts to worship Jesus and God. I think people need reminding every year what Christmas is all about."

After months of rehearsals, Reeves said it always is a delight to see the ballet take shape in its opening performance.

"It's a wonderful show that we've written and I'm really proud of it quite frankly," Reeves said. "My staff has done a wonderful job developing it. It started out as a one-hour short show and it's turned into a full-length production now. Every year we tweak it a little bit and try to make it a little bit better, a little fresher. [This year] we have one new piece that Mary does and we also have several new costumes. ... We start [preparing for the ballet] at the end of September and a lot of [our dancers] rehearse every single Saturday.

"It's a lot of work to put into something like this. It's funny because even though I help write it and I see it rehearsed and know what it's all about, it still speaks to me every year. It's such a joy to see the joy on these girls' faces as they celebrate Jesus' birth as well as just celebrating [their] hard work."

Tickets for "The Nativity" will cost $15 at the door or $13 in advance by calling 770-386-7343 or visiting The Grand Theatre's Ticket Office today through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. and 12:30 to 5 p.m.