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Nutcracker auditions Sept. 8
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Although outside doesn't feel like Christmas just yet, the Arts Association of Newton County is getting into the holiday spirit early by announcing public auditions for its annual Nutcracker ballet.

The group is asking all curious residents to give the ballet slipper a try and come to Mainstream Dance in Covington Saturday, Sept. 8. Auditions for children ages five and six are from noon to 12:30 p.m., ages seven and up, auditions are from 12:45 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

No dance experienced is required, and co-artistic director Ashley Lazenby Swan said she hopes to include everyone who auditions in the ballet.

"In the past, we've tried to use every child we can," she said. "We want to try to expose every kid and get their feet wet with dance."

The ballet, in its 11th year, has become a holiday staple for Newton County residents, although Swan said she wouldn't have it any other way.

"The ballet is the perfect way for families to slow down during the season and appreciated time together; it's just one of those traditions," Swan said.

The company already has 50 children casted for the ballet and are looking for 25 to 50 extra dancers, with performances running Dec. 7-9. For more information, contact The Arts Association in Newton County at (770) 786-8188.

Details of the audition:
•The location of the audition is 1114 College Avenue in Covington.
•Dancers are asked to bring a full body photograph and $125 for the program fee. Swan said scholarships are available based on financial need, and the $125 can be paid in increments.
•Girls auditioning are advised to wear a ballet leotard, tights and ballet shoes.
•Boys should wear a T-shirt, gym shorts and socks.