Holiday traditions continue with The Nutcracker at Bridges


About 100 dancers under age 18, joined by about 12 to 15 adults playing the Sugar Plum Fairy, parents of children and other more mature roles, will hit the stage in the classic holiday ballet November 24-26 and December 1-3 at Chandler Center for the Arts.

This is the third year Stage West has teamed up with Urban Dance Connection's classical division in Campbell River to bring The Nutcracker to Port Alberni this holiday season.

"Then there's the children, who we are not bringing with us", the Ballet's artistic director, Devon Carney, said in a phone call with KCUR from the Kennedy Center lobby earlier this week. Featuring Pickle Family Circus stars Pino and Razz (aka Cirque du Soleil soloists Jeff Raz and Diane Wasnak), the show is set to original arrangements of seasonal songs performed live by the jazz-steeped a cappella group SoVoSó.

The exhibition was curated in part by a longtime Louisville Ballet performer, Helen Daigle.

"I think everyone will enjoy the changes that we made", Kellan said.

This year's production will also feature global guest artists like Korean dancer Seyhuan Jin as the Sugar Plum Fairy; Kevin Hernandez, a finalist in the World Ballet Competition, who will dance the Russian Sugar Twist divertissement; and Eriberto Jimenez, a native of Bogotà, Colombia, as Count Silberhaus.

"My honest gratitude to all of those who participate in our production of The Nutcracker this year", said Valiev. Now entering its 10 year, Nashville's Nutcracker will debut additional elements to celebrate the milestone. She revealed that her favorite part to play was the Arabian. "Soldiers have to be between this height and that height, angels are the smallest, and that's how we kind of decide who goes where. And also based on their ability, of course".

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"Nutcracker", The San Francisco Ballet: Helgi Tomasson's "Nutcracker" has lost none of its power to dazzle and delight since its 2004 premiere.

Starrett says, "This is a professional production replete with sets, scenery, and's a once-in-a-lifetime holiday event". Among the other artifacts of the exhibit are 22 pairs of plain points shoes, the number of shoes a ballerina gets from the ballet every year. And it gives people a chance to see the reality behind the illusion. "That was our first one". "Each dancer does something totally different to their point shoes to make them fit them the way they need them to".

Numerous shoes also are signed by the ballerinas who wore them.

"There are pictures of Alun (Jones) and Helen (Starr) from when they are very young", said Daigle, referencing two longtime leaders of the company, now retired.

It is very rewarding to see how this production has enriched the lives of its dancers and the fine arts experience for thousands of Denton students.

"She would blow me kisses, and I would stand at the corner of the stage and jump and blow kisses back to her, because it was my big sister, and I thought it was the coolest thing", Morton said.

Zoe's dream is to teach dance. We know the show - the crew knows it, the dancers know it better.