Sugar plums, snowflakes and tons of holiday sparkle are just around the corner when The Ballet Studio debuts its annual production of “The Nutcracker Ballet” at Old Town Temecula Community Theater.
“Each year the students who have been with me improve so much,” said Ballet Studio director Mark Erickson. “It’s a learning curve for them. Some of our older students are very strong, both in terms of the technical (aspects of dance) and in the maturity that they bring to the characters.
“The Nutcracker Ballet” was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and first premiered in 1892. The famed ballet, traditionally performed during the Christmas season, is a fairy tale that brings a young girl’s deliciously vivid dreams to life one festive Christmas Eve.
Featuring a cast of roughly 120 performers—some as young as three years-old—Erikson said that putting together such a large production, with so many dancers would not be possible without the support of staff.
“I’ve got some really great people that help me — Barbara Provencio, Robin Granger, Becky Woo, and Julie Geary and her sister Amber and their work rehearsing the little ones,” Erickson said.
Erickson said that working with the vast range in age is one of the most taxing aspects of the show, but also very rewarding.
“This is a professional-level production of “The Nutcracker Ballet,” so the little ones are so far advanced from their peers in terms of focus and taking direction,” Erickson said.
Among the stars to watch for this season is Taylor Foley, who will dance the lead role in the first three opening performances of the show.
“Taylor has grown up and trained here. She has gotten to the point where she is talented enough to do the show,” Erickson said, adding that San Diego Ballet’s Tiffany Koepke will dance the lead in the remaining shows .
To Southwest Riverside residents who have several options for “Nutcracker” productions, Erickson said: “Our show is an ambitious staging, with set changes. It is a version of the ballet that is very focused and energetic. I have always tried to create a dramatic spin that carries the observer through the whole evening, bringing the audience into the dream.”
The show runs Dec. 17-23, with varying matinee and evening performances.
To learn more, or to purchase tickets visit temeculatheater.org.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.