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This Christmas, go global with the Averitt Center


November 18, 2014

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    The international festival may be over, but the Averitt Center for the Arts is still planning to bring the world to you in the Christmas Around the World concert production this weekend.
    The directors and instructors from the Averitt Center’s ballet, choral, strings and theater programs have created an original holiday production that will premier here in Statesboro this coming weekend and travel to Glennville, at that community’s invitation, in early December.
    “The program was designed to involve our performing arts students in a collaborative holiday program,” explained Tim Chapman, the Averitt Center’s executive director.
    Each youth performance program will be presenting holiday international holiday traditions in their performance discipline. Some of the countries represented include Norway, China, Russia, Italy, Germany, Taiwan and Ireland.  
    Jurijs Safonovs, artistic director of the Statesboro Youth Ballet, uses his international background and recent cultural exchange with Taiwanese dancers to bring several newly choreographed works to the production. In fact, a dance in honor of the traditional Taiwanese fan dance uses authentic silk fans signed and given to him by the Taiwanese exchange students who spent time in Statesboro last year.
    “Being able to use their gift in a performance featuring the holiday traditions of other cultures is very special,” Safonovs said. “I’m taking what I learned during our exchange and passing that information on to my students. It’s a time-honored way of passing down tradition and culture — this is how dance has been taught for generations.”
    Jackie Gordon, head instructor in the youth theatre program, said her students have enjoyed learning about traditions closer to home  how most familiar Christmas traditions are based in folk tales and traditions of European countries and have since developed into something uniquely American.  Her students will bring to life the story behind the tradition of Christmas tinsel.
    The youth chorale, under the artistic direction of Sarah Hancock, will bring present music from various countries in native languages.
    “One of the many benefits of learning classical vocal repertoire is learning to sing in other languages,” said Hancock. “Not only is this musically challenging and fun, but it introduces young children to thinking about children in other cultures, to be more globally aware.”
    The final number of the production is a re-interpretation of the familiar English carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas," with a new musical arrangement by Dr. Michael Braz. The carol will be sung by members of the Statesboro Youth Chorale, accompanied by members of the Statesboro Youth Strings and Dr. Braz. Meanwhile, members of the Statesboro Youth Ballet and Statesboro Youth Theatre programs will visually interpret the song.
    Don’t miss your chance to see one of the finest youth performances in Statesboro this holiday season!

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