Kingsport Times News Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Central Ballet brings 'Esther' to life

January 11th, 2012 4:10 am by Staff Report

A cast of 99 dancers, alongside four professional dancers, will portray the biblical account of Esther, a poor young Jewish woman, orphaned as a child, who is chosen to be queen of Persia during Central Ballet Theatre’s “The Story of Esther.”

Performances are set for 7 p.m., Jan. 20; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Jan 21; and 2 p.m., Jan. 22 at the Annie Hogan Byrd Theater at Tusculum College in Greeneville. Admission is $10 for general seating and $5 for seniors and students. Tickets are available at the box office the day of each performance or by calling (423) 525-9004.

When a young Jewish orphan girl named Hadassah became the queen of Persia sometime around 481 B.C., she had no idea that, as Queen Esther, she would be used by God to prevent the extinction of her entire race. It is a story found in the Old Testament book of Esther, and it is one of the Bible’s most treasured sources of inspiration and comfort because it brilliantly illustrates God’s divine providence and His personal care and protection for His Chosen People. But it is the noble self-sacrifice of this girl who became queen that triumphs as she allows God to use her as the instrument of salvation for her people.

American Repertory Ballet’s Joshua Kurtzberg will dance the role of Mordecai, Esther’s watchful uncle and caretaker. Carlos dos Santos Jr. of New York City will dance the role of wicked Haman, alongside CBT’s artistic director, Lori Ann Sparks, who will be Zeresh, Haman’s conniving wife. Joslyn Frazee, a former professional with Ballet Magnificat! and now a resident of Morristown, will also perform.

Sarah Jacobs and Rebecca Parker will share the role of Esther. Brian Sparks will portray Persian King Ahasuerus. Maggie Sanders will dance the role of young Esther.

Sparks wrote the script based on the Biblical story, chose music to depict the feel of the drama, oversaw historical accuracy of costume designs and sets, and created choreography to tell the story. The ballet premiered in 2007 and has remained the same except for this year’s addition of the 10 sons of Haman and an additional scene to depict the intensity of the hatred between Mordecai and Haman.

Central Ballet Theatre is Greeneville’s non-profit, community ballet company that exists to promote growth, innovation and technical expertise in the ballet fine arts in Greene County and its region. CBT seeks to create ballets with wholesome or biblical themes with the desire to enrich and inspire the lives of the dancers as well as the audience.

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