“The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” a new full-length ballet based on the fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, premieres Saturday, May 18, performed by more than 60 local dancers and produced by the O’Brien Center for the Arts.

The O’Brien Center was established nine months ago at 1372 N. McDowell Blvd. and is directed by Martha O’Brien.

The performance also includes a showcase of other dancers from the center, 3 to 83 years old, performing works in styles that include hip-hop, lyrical, jazz, contemporary and ballet.

At Showstoppers, a recent competition, Double Platinum and Highest awards went to the Center’s dance teams CORE (Advanced) and Fluorescent Funk (Intermediate Hip Hop).

The center offers a new class, rhythmic gymnastics, starting June 24. Although relatively unknown in the United States, rhythmic gymnastics is familiar in eastern Europe as a sport combining elements of gymnastics and dance with five pieces of apparatus: rope, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon. Also beginning June 24 are ballet, dance and stretch classes held in the St. Vincent High School gym and open to students 5 through 19.

The Center hosts programs combining visual art, music and dance in three dance studios. Sessions currently offered include ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical and Zumba for all ages.

“We believe students of all ages can learn to express themselves creatively through the art of dance,” says Martha O’Brien. The center’s summer curriculum of classes culminates with a new production of an original ballet, “Candyland,” based on the popular board game.

“Our mission,” O’Brien says, “is to give students a supportive, professional, learning environment to grow and mature as a dancer while having fun. We encourage fitness, body awareness, discipline, and musical and artistic exploration through dance.”

“The Twelve Dancing Princesses” plays at 1:30 and 5:30 p.m.Saturday, May 18, at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 1094 Petaluma Blvd. South. Tickets are $12 and available by calling 765-1771 or going to obriencota.com.

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