S.C. Dance Theatre presents ‘The Nutcracker Ballet’
The Holiday Season begins in Florence with dancing snowflakes and a magical Nutcracker who comes to life when the South Carolina Dance Theatre presents the “The Nutcracker Ballet.” This familiar story features a young girl named Clara who receives a magical nutcracker which leads her into a journey through the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. There she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince and is entertained by dancers from the Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, and Russian kingdoms.
The Nutcracker opens the company’s season with performances on Dec. 1, 2 and 3 in the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center. The ballet also features orchestral accompaniment by the Florence Symphony Orchestra, courtesy of Debi and Panos Kalaritis and other community individuals.
This unique partnership brings together two of Florence’s artistic and non-profit entities for a live ballet to live music – a special event for the entire community. The orchestra joins the ballet for all of the performances except for the Sunday matinee.
This beloved classic is an event for the whole family. Set to Tchaikovsky’s famous music, the ballet features elaborate scenery, professional costuming and intricate choreography and riveting dance, all of which make for an exceptional experience for young and old.
Performance times are Friday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m., a matinee on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m., an evening performance on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m., and a Sunday matinee on Dec. 3, at 3 pm. Make reservations by calling the PAC box office at 661-4444 during box office hours or noon to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday. Patrons who wish to obtain tickets online, may visit the online box office at www.fmupac.org.
Tickets are $32, $27 and $22 in accordance with three levels of seating. All student tickets are $15.
The ballet is under the direction of Susan Rowe, artistic director.
The Nutcracker story begins with children, Clara and Fritz, being entertained at a party given by their parents. Drosselmeyer, Clara’s favorite uncle, gives her a magical Nutcracker. She falls asleep and dreams, and when she awakens the room is filled with mice and toy soldiers who have come to life under the Christmas tree. A ferocious battle ensues and the Nutcracker leads the charge of the soldiers against the mice who attack Clara. Clara saves the Nutcracker’s life and the dream continues as he turns into a handsome prince. Together they journey into the Kingdom of the Sweets where toys come to life, flowers dance before their eyes and the Sugar Plum and her Cavalier perform their magical pas de deux.
Leading roles in the ballet are Isabelle Dauksch as Clara, Hannah Griffin as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Camille Knockemus as Snow Queen. Dolls in the party scene are danced by Ava Hatchell as Gypsy Doll, Alaina Naylor as Columbine Doll and Ella Warner as Cadet Doll. The Mouse King will be performed by Bailey Barefoot and Natalie Dean. Luke Baker is the Nutcracker. Dancers from the Kingdoms visited by Clara include Alyssa Hanna and Gracie Wilson as Spanish, McKenna Dynan and Rosemary Flamini as Arabian, Kailey White and Grace Munn as Chinese, Natalie Dean as Russian, and Ella Naylor and Bailey Barefoot as French Mirleton. Other senior dancers include Ella Miller who performs in Snow and Flowers, and as a maid in the party scene.
Other company members include Kaylee Bair, Maria Evans, Alyssa McGee, Lily Merzlak, Faith Miller, Katelyn Whitlow, Giada Basta, Natalie Brewton, Caroline Corn, Lydia Dandford, Annie Ruth Eliason, Ella Grace Jordan, Maya Lee, Arden Rand, Lauren Schneider, Emma Wentzel, Vanessa Brewton, Louisa McLeod, Jia Jia Lin, Aly Powell, Megan Pugh, Olivia Kate Rand, McKinley Riley, Sofia Sargent, Mary Ashley Snipes, Abi Urquhart, Aubrey Youmans, McCall Gregg, Isabel Quann, Ella Quann, Hannah Quann, Willow Ridenhour, and Miriam Welch.
The SCDT welcomes Caleb Roberts as guest artist in the roles of Cavalier and Snow King. He has trained with the Columbia Music Festival Association, Carolina Ballet, the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, North Carolina School for the Arts, and Boston Ballet. He danced with the Cincinnati Ballet for five years until he retired to Hartsville and now works across the Southeast as a guest artist.