April 17, 2010 8:20:00 PM
Each year, the dancers of Ballet Columbus rehearse long hours to present a program that will uplift the audience.
While 2010 is no exception, there is a twist. Instructor Anne Wilson''s troupe will perform "Hadassah -- the Story of a Girl Named Esther" Saturday, April 24, at 6 p.m. in Rent Auditorium on the Mississippi University for Women campus. But sharing the helm with Wilson on this year''s production is 16-year-old Emma Hatcher. She is the daughter of Lee and Lenora Hatcher of Columbus.
Wilson said, "I''ve been teaching (Ballet Columbus) and putting on ballet recitals for the past 10 years, and this year Emma came to me and said she would love to do this story -- and she is doing a beautiful job; I''m so proud of her."
Hatcher, a home school student from Columbus, said, "An idea sprung in my head, and I started working on it. Mrs. Anne found out ... and she decided we could buddy up together and use her experience and my energy and create something."
The group consists of 30 dancers, from age 4 to adult, noted Wilson, who taught ballet in Virginia before moving to Columbus.
Hatcher adapted the Biblical story of Esther, formerly Hadassah, collaborating with Wilson on choreography. She also dances the role of the young girl who became a queen and a champion of the Jewish population.
For several dancers, this production is a family affair. Sisters and brothers, mothers and sons, fathers and daughters are involved. Hatcher''s own father and at least one of her brothers will also be on stage.
The free one-hour program of worship and praise through dance is open to the public.
"I feel like we are a Christian company; we have wonderful fellowship with one another. Our theme has always been Psalm 149, verse 3: ''Praise the Lord with dancing,''" said Wilson. She also stressed the benefits of exercise and building an appreciation of the arts, especially for young people. The group meets weekly throughout the year.
Ballet Columbus is open to all children and adults, ages 4 and up, beginners to advanced. For more information about the April 24 recital, contact Wilson at 662-328-2221.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.