Join Forces to Create a New Vision for Dance in Gwinnett

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre and Sugarloaf Youth Ballet are announcing an exciting new partnership that will connect the two organizations and create a premier dance education center in Gwinnett County. In June 2020, Gwinnett Ballet Theatre will be relocating to a new home at the Sugarloaf Performing Arts Center, in Suwanee.  Supporting their collective missions of excellence in dance education and performance, this move will combine the programs of both organizations and grow a centralized hub for dance.

Sugarloaf Performing Arts Center will become Gwinnett’s largest location for dance instruction as it offers a dance instruction school, youth ballet company, daytime ballet conservatory, Gwinnett Ballet Theatre’s Professional Ensemble, and high-quality professional ballet productions.  Students in both the school and the Sugarloaf Youth Ballet will perform alongside the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre Professional Ensemble in large scale ballet performances, including next season’s 40th Anniversary production of ‘The Nutcracker’. This combined alliance provides an advancement path for aspiring dancers and enhances the arts as a whole, in Gwinnett, by bringing greater opportunities for both arts lovers and performers to connect with dance. Both organizations envision this ground-breaking move as “creating a professional dance community” for Gwinnett County.

Leading the helm of this new alliance will be Artistic Director, Lori Zamzow-Wire, the Founding Artistic Director of Sugarloaf Youth Ballet and president of the dance studio: Sugarloaf Performing Arts.  Zamzow-Wire will be taking on the additional role of Artistic Director of Gwinnet Ballet Theatre.  Her vision is to grow GBT’s professional ensemble into a full ballet company.   “Gwinnett County has already trained many dancers who have left the county to dance on a professional basis” said Zamzow-Wire.  “It is now time to give them and other aspiring dancers the opportunity to dance professionally in Gwinnett.”  Gwinnett Ballet Theatre’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to appoint Lori Zamzow-Wire to lead the future of the organization.  “Optimism is the essence of our success.” says Renee Graham, GBT Board member. “It is what makes us invest in the future of GBT’s accomplishments which is our highest aim.” The Board is optimistic that Lori’s leadership and this new partnership will lay the foundation for a strong ballet footprint in Gwinnett.

GBT plans to hire additional dancers for the professional ensemble’s 2020-21 season and will be holding auditions on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at the Sugarloaf Performing Arts Center in Suwanee, Georgia.  Registration will begin at 2:00pm and the audition will start with classes at 2:30pm.  The ensemble is an exciting addition to GBT’s history of teaching and nurturing young artists since 1977.

Angela Harris, who served as Interim Director of GBT for its 2018 and 2019 seasons, assisted the ballet with the plans to expand and partner with Sugarloaf Youth Ballet. After the successful launch of Gwinnett Ballet Theatre’s Professional Ensemble in 2019, Harris and the Board of Directors discussed the long-term vision to grow GBT’s offerings to include a full-time professional ballet company. They approached Zamzow-Wire to take over the role as GBT’s permanent Artistic Director. Zamzow-Wire’s vision perfectly aligned with the GBT’s goals for the school and ensemble.

“Lori brings a lot to the table,” states Harris, Interim Director of GBT. “I have known her for a long time. Her dedication to her students and to the artform of ballet is a natural fit for GBT. She also is dedicated to Gwinnett’s community and wants to bring more ballet to a wide array of audiences. I am excited for GBT’s future under Lori’s watchful and artistic eye.”

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre will start its 2020 season with an annual Director’s Gala performance and celebration in the fall leading into the 40th anniversary Nutcracker performances at the Infinite Energy Center.  The Gwinnett Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker is the second largest production of this holiday classic in the Northeast Georgia/Metro Atlanta area, offering 16 performances over 3 weekends in December, reaching over 12,000 audience members annually. The season will continue with a modern and contemporary Choreography Series in late winter, followed by a full-length spring ballet production.

Major sponsors for Gwinnett Ballet Theatre and Sugarloaf Performing Arts’ 2020-21 Season will be announced in July. Current corporate sponsorship opportunities are available, including the coveted Title Sponsor for the 40th Anniversary Nutcracker, which includes a joint program with The Hudgens Center. The new alliance between Sugarloaf Performing Arts and Gwinnett Ballet Theatre will provide the community with many ways to engage with both organizations throughout the season as partners, volunteers, sponsors, and audience members.

For more information on classes, performances or community activities, please contact the Sugarloaf Performing Arts office at 770-682-5333 .

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