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Allongé production to benefit mission trip

Special to the News-Herald

For the third consecutive year at Southside Baptist Church, Allonge Dance Academy will perform “The Nativity” at 7 p.m. Dec. 15 and 1 p.m. Dec. 16. The 2017 performances add new scenes, characters and musical numbers and will benefit a 2018 mission trip to Haiti by members of the ballet company.

Allonge Director and Instructor Amanda Short said the decision to stage two performances in 2017 was the result of growing audience numbers.

“Over the last few years, our audience has grown from 200 to 500,” Short said. “We hope two performances will allow us to accommodate even more of our community.”

Short also decided to add an admission fee. The Nativity, which began as a small community outreach supported by generous donors has grown to a $3,000 production, most of which is absorbed by the studio as donors have dwindled.

“The Nativity” by Allonge Dance Academy will feature dozens of adult and child cast members from the area.

Most of the proceeds from ticket sales, however, are earmarked for the ballet company’s July 2018 mission trip with Supply and Multiply, a ministry that empowers the community of Montrouis, Haiti, through creating jobs and providing compassion care for Haiti’s elderly and orphaned.

“It has always been my hope that ‘The Nativity’ will re-focus our audience on the spirit and meaning of Christmas, celebrate the birth of our Savior, and create an opportunity where many can enjoy and come to appreciate the beauty of classical ballet,” Short said.

Short added that she is excited to see more families perform together in 2017 as most of the adult dancers also have children who perform roles in the production.

Claire Lee, who has danced at Allonge for three years and performs four parts in the ballet, managed to talk her father, Carey, into auditioning. He was later cast as Mary’s father and a Roman soldier.

“It’s cool to experience this with my dad,” Claire said. “It’s fun to watch him. He can be really funny.”

Carey said being on the production side of “The Nativity” has given him a better appreciation of the work that goes on behind the scenes.

“It’s a quality production,” Carey said. “The girls work really hard at it. It’s a good show.”

Carey added that the cost for attending the production is still less than the cost of a movie ticket. Both Lees will travel to Haiti with Allonge, where they expect to lead Bible schools, help rebuild houses after Hurricane Irma, and teach dance classes.

Short said she hopes the mission trip will be as rewarding for her young dancers as it was for her when she traveled to South Africa on a mission trip as a teen.

“It was life changing for me,” Short said. “I’m honored to be able to partner with Supply and Multiply to allow some of our dancers, instructors, and families such a life-changing opportunity. I’m humbled to be able to witness how God chooses to use them as they embark on such a trip.”

Tickets are $8 at the door, $7 online at www.AllongeDanceAcademy.com or $6 each for a group of 15 or more. Short said she hopes the group rate will encourage youth groups, school groups and sports groups to attend a Christmas performance together.

For more information on The Nativity ballet or how to support the Haiti mission trip, call Allonge Dance Academy at 738-5833.