The Nutcracker Closes Out the Holiday Season in Old Town
When the Temecula-based Ballet Studio and the Fine Arts Network present “The Nutcracker,” beginning this weekend in Old Town, the sugarplums will dance right out of your head and onto the stage.
“The Nutcracker” ballet, adapted from E.T.A. Hoffman’s story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” and choreographed to Tchaikovsky’s famous score, was not originally performed during the holiday season. When the first full version was performed in the United States in 1944, the San Francisco Ballet premiered the production with a Christmas theme, on Christmas Eve, and a holiday tradition was born.
The beloved holiday ballet tells the story of a young girl named Marie (also known as Clara) who receives a nutcracker as a Christmas gift from an eccentric toymaker. With her nutcracker prince, Marie sets off on a magical holiday journey filled with Christmas characters including candy canes, snowflakes, toys and angels; before culminating in an epic battle between Marie’s beloved prince and the mouse king.
For the lead role of Marie, The Ballet Studio Director, Mark Erickson, chose two young dancers to don the famous night shirt; Tiffany Koepke, an instructor for the Ballet Studio as well as a dancer for the San Diego Ballet, will play the role for the majority of the performances. Marissa Ball, a fifteen-year-old student of the studio, one of Erickson’s most talented, will star for matinee performances.
Rounding out the cast will be Shawn Burgess, who trained at The Ballet Studio and is now under contract with the San Diego Ballet Company, will be dancing the male lead of the Nutcracker Prince.
Because the story of The Nutcracker has changed and developed over several decades, Erickson takes care to make sure the audience can follow his interpretation.
“The Nutcracker ballet, in its traditional form, makes little if any dramatic sense,” Erickson said. “My goal has always been to recreate the ballet and make it possible to follow the story without the aid of a full-page synopsis. I believe we have accomplished that.”
Recently voted one of the Top 10 “Nutcrackers” in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times, “The Nutcracker” will be on stage at the Old Town Community Theater from December 18th through the 23rd. Last year’s shows were all sell outs so make sure you get your tickets early to ensure your family has the chance to see this timeless holiday tradition for themselves.