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(WLTX) - The Columbia City Ballet culminates its 2011- 2012 season with the most infamous kiss in fairytale history... a sparkling rendition of the full-length classic The Sleeping Beauty. Under the direction of Executive & Artistic Director William Starrett, this elaborate spectacle of magic and glamour takes the Koger Center stage on March 9 and 10 for three performances.

"The Sleeping Beauty is one of the purest classical ballets in existence. It has a long and important history with the Columbia City Ballet. It has been produced ten times in our 50 year history: first in 1966, and last eight years ago in 2004. I first danced the role of the Prince in Sleeping Beauty for the Minnesota Ballet when I was 17 years old. It is thrilling that I can be instrumental in bringing this masterpiece to our community," said Starrett.

Created in 1890 by choreographer Marius Petipa and legendary composer Tchaikovsky, The Sleeping Beauty is recognized as one of the supreme achievements of classical ballet.

The ballet takes audiences on a journey through an enchanted forest based on the classic French fairytale by Charles Perrault: the beautiful princess Aurora, performed by Ballerina Regina Willoughby, is cursed by the evil fairy Carabosse, brought to life by Alexis Doktor and Cooper Rust who will be alternating the role, and doomed to sleep for one- hundred years- only to be awakened by the kiss of her true love, the handsome Prince Charming, danced by Soloist Journy Wilkes-Davis.

Also performing are principal dancers Mark Krieger and Kathryn Smoak dancing the Blue Bird Pas De Deux and the Lilac Fairy will be portrayed by Soloist Claire Kallimanis, alternating with Claire Richards.

Tchaikovsky is also well-known for two other popular full length classical ballets, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. With a score that has stood the test of time, The Sleeping Beauty remains one of the most revered ballets in the world today. The sheer artistry of the technically demanding dancing, and the Columbia City Ballet's fresh approach to this clearly- portrayed story make The Sleeping Beauty production the perfect family outing and a great ballet for first- timers.

Performances of The Sleeping Beauty are March 9 at 7:30 p.m. and March 10 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Before each evening performance, Director Starrett holds a pre-show lecture 30 minutes prior to the curtain where he gives a unique introduction behind the scenes into the magical world of ballet. Following the March 10 matinee, audience members are invited to tour backstage and meet the Columbia City Ballet dancers.

The Sleeping Beauty is sponsored by Lexington Medical Center. Tickets are on sale at the Coliseum Box Office and all Capitol Ticket Outlets. Charge by phone by calling 251-2222 or on online at www.capitoltickets.com. For more information about the Columbia City Ballet, call 799- 7605 or visit www.columbiacityballet.com.

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