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Let's get Nutcracking

November 27, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Sure, there's the land of sweets with beautiful sugar plum fairies and a snow queen. There are the fighting mice and a hunky nutcracker prince to sweep a young Clara off her feet.

But gauging from our roundup of local ballets, "The Nutcracker" is the same story that is never the same story. The classical ballet presents the tale of a girl named Clara who enters a dream world with her new friend, the Nutcracker Prince.

But the real fun is in the telling of the story. Here's an overview of what a few local dance companies have in mind for the retelling of this holiday favorite.

Hagerstown



Ballet and All That Jazz



WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7.

WHERE: Valley Mall, Halfway. The dancers will perform near JCPenney.

COST: Free admission

WEB: For additional scheduled performances and venues, go to www.balletandallthatjazz.com.

Senior company members from Ballet and All That Jazz will perform four variations from Act II of "The Nutcracker." The twist: The scenes are continuous, so dancers will have to change costumes as the music goes on.

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"It's cleverly done," said director Ranelle Flurie. Following the variations, dancers will perform "Lullaby," an original piece by Flurie inspired by the late Erika Thimey, a pioneer in the modern dance movement who helped introduce modern dance to Washington, D.C., in the 1930s and 1940s.

Thimey -- pronounced TEE-my -- lived in Washington County, Md., and died of congestive heart failure in 2006 at age 96.

Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Co.



WHEN: 7:30 and 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, and Sunday, Dec. 13

WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown

COST: $23, $25 and $29

CONTACT: 301-790-2000, www.mdtheatre.org. For the ballet company, go to www.pcybc.org.

Artistic Director Lauran Clowser leads roughly 100 dancers, and guest artists Justin Leaf (Nutcracker Prince and contributing choreographer) and Taylor Dreyling (Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy) from Minneapolis in the Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Co.'s Nutcracker. Clowser said Dreyling's solo for the Sugar Plum Fairy has been passed down year after year and originates from one of Clowser's former teachers at the Washington Ballet. Clowser says she tells Sugar Plum Fairies that this is part of their dance heritage.

New this year is a twist on Mother Ginger, the character who has children come out of her skirt. Clowser wouldn't get into detail, except to say, "She's totally cool this year."




Frederick, Md.



Maryland Regional Ballet



WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13

WHERE: Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St., downtown Frederick, Md.

COST: $11, $23, and $25

CONTACT: Call the Weinberg Center at 301-600-2828, or go to www.weinbergcenter.org. For the ballet company, go to www.frederickclassicalballet.net.

Entering its 30th year, the Maryland Regional Ballet's production offers up a "Nutcracker" with the traditional trimmings, with the growing Christmas tree, snowfall and all the characters the Land of Sweets, said Carol Perlmeter, president of the Regional Ballet's board.

For their pas de deux, guest artists Misa Kuranaga (Sugar Plum Fairy) and Jared Redick (Cavalier) will use the choreography of 19th-century ballet pioneer Marius Petipa. Seventy dancers are in the production, with students from the Frederick School of Classical Ballet rounding out the roles, Perlmeter said.




Pennsylvania



Chambersburg Ballet Theatre Co.



WHEN: 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5

WHERE: The Capitol Theatre, 159 S. Main St., Chambersburg, Pa.

COST: $10, all tickets

CONTACT: Call The Capitol Theatre at 717-263-0202, e-mail boxoffice@thecapitoltheatre.org or go to www.thecapitoltheatre.org. For the ballet company, go to www.innernet.net/cbts.

This year's "Nutcracker" will be different from prior Chambersburg Ballet Theatre Co. productions. Clara -- performed by resident guest artist and CBT-trained Brie Anne Asbury -- becomes a grown-up version of herself. In the ballet's final movement, set to Tchaikovsky's "Apotheosis," the grown-up Clara and the present-day child Clara are both seen at the end of the piece.

"How this happens should be both a surprise and a delight," said Lavinia Reid, CBT's artistic director.

Freelance professional dancer Brent Whitney from New York City takes the role as the Nutcracker Prince. Other highlights include the party scene, with dancing between miniature dolls 8-year-old Raja N'Daki and Alcinda Burchill, 7.




West Virginia



Inwood Performing Arts Co.



WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13

WHERE: Musselman High School, 126 Excellence Way, Inwood, W.Va.

COST: $15 for adults; $10 for students

CONTACT: Call 304-229-3209 for tickets. For the ballet company, go to InwoodPerformingArts.com

Denna Smith, director of Inwood Performing Arts Co., said they're sticking close to the original look and feel of the traditional "Nutcracker" for this year's production.

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