35th annual production stars local dancers, actors, and parents
A long-standing tradition in Niagara Falls continues this holiday season. The Greater Niagara Ballet Company presents its 35th annual production of "The Nutcracker."
The show is on stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Niagara Falls High School Performing Arts Center, 4455 Porter Road.
A special on-school-time performance will take place Friday morning for area elementary school students.
"The Nutcracker" is sponsored in part by KeyBank.
Act I: Sophia Curry, 12, of Lewiston, and Tatum McLean, 12, of Niagara Falls, Ontario, will split time as Clara. Lewiston's Paul Thomas reprises his role as Uncle Drosselmier.
Following the party scene, guest artists Lily McEvenue and Irek Muchalski star as the Snow Queen and Cavalier, respectively.
Act II: Grace Gruarin (Youngstown) and Aniko Nagy (Lewiston) will take turns as the Dew Drop Fairy. They'll also share duties as Lead Candy Cane. Sara Humphrey (Tonawanda) and Sarah Waechter (Lewiston) will each have a turn as Mother Ginger. Twins Mariette and Serena Feltrin, of Niagara Falls, Ontario, will perform several roles, including Lead Chinese, Lead Spanish and Lead Arabian.
McEvenue and Muchalski will return to perform as the Sugarplum Fairy and the Sugarplum Prince.
Special Guest Artist Lily McEvenue
Lily McEvenue (Snow Queen, Sugarplum Fairy) began her professional training at the Quinte Ballet School of Canada in 2005. In her three years at the school, she had the pleasure of dancing in August Bournonville's "Flower Festival in Genzano," and the pollaca and peasant pas de deux in "Giselle." She also starred as Clara and Snow Queen in "The Nutcracker."
McEvenue continued her training with the former National Ballet of Canada principal dancer Gizella Witkowsky, and then at the School of Atelier Ballet and Canada's National Ballet School in Toronto.
She has performed at the Banff Festival for the Arts, The Cecchetti International Ballet Competition, The Juilliard School and at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Fellowship Program. McEvenue danced at Springboard Danse Montreal (2012), where she worked with renowned choreographers such as Margie Gillis, Marie Chouinard and José Navas.
Most recently, McEvenue danced with Opera Atelier in Toronto, and at the Royal Palace in Versailles, France, as a member of the Artists of Atelier Ballet.
"The Nutcracker" begins in the Silberhaus family living room, where family and friends have gathered to celebrate Christmas Eve. Clara, enchanted by the festivities, awaits the arrival of her mysterious Uncle Drosselmier, who brings magical presents for the party. In particular, he presents his niece with a very special Christmas gift: a nutcracker doll.
Clara finds it hard to sleep, so she sneaks into the living room to steal a glimpse of her new doll. As the clock strikes midnight, she awakens to see the Christmas tree magically growing, and her nutcracker coming to life to battle with the evil Mouse King.
After the great battle, the nutcracker is transformed into a handsome prince who travels with Clara through the "Land of Snow" to the "Kingdom of Sweets."
Once there, the Sugarplum Fairy asks Clara to recount her adventures. As Clara is regaled for her bravery, the prince summons the "Sweets" and "Spices" from around the world to dance in her honor.
"The Nutcracker" is based on a tale by Ernest Hoffman and choreographed by Ivanov to the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It was first performed before the czar of Russia in St. Petersburg in 1892. It was brought to the U.S. in 1940 where, in its various interpretations, it has evolved into a beloved holiday classic.
A family favorite, the GNBC's version showcases dancers, character performers and parents under the direction of artistic director Beverley Feder, FISTD.
Tickets to "The Nutcracker" are $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. A family pack (two adults, two students) costs $40. Pre-sale tickets are available at various locations (including all Niagara Falls Tim Hortons locations; D'Amico Music on Pine Avenue; the Orange Cat Coffee Co. and The Village Bake Shoppe in Lewiston; Camp Bow Wow in Tonawanda; and Half Moon Bay Restaurant in North Tonawanda). Pending availability, tickets also will be available at the door prior to each performance.
About the Greater Niagara Ballet Company
The GNBC is a not-for-profit, 501(c) (3) corporation dedicated to providing local dancers the opportunity to develop their talents in a professional theatrical setting; work with professional dancers from all parts of the world; build an understanding and appreciation of the ballet arts through ongoing educational workshops and performances; and participate in dance projects that establish the Niagara region as a high-quality ballet center.
GNBC productions are open to all ballet students by audition.
The company is online at www.niagaraballet.org.