Ballet companies join to stage ‘Nutcracker’

Published 6:00 am Saturday, December 4, 2004

The Ballet Mississippi and Brookhaven Ballet School have joinedto present “The Nutcracker” from 2-3 p.m. Saturday at Co-Lin’s Reaauditorium. The public is invited, and there is no admissionfee.

“The Nutcracker,” which features music by Peter IlyichTchaikovsky, is based upon E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story, “The Nutcrackerand the Mouse King.”

A quick background of the story follows:

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It is Christmas Eve, and Councillor Von Stahlbaum, a cityofficial, and his wife are entertaining close friends andrelatives. The Stahlbaum’s have two children, Fritz and Marie, whoare joined by their many friends and relatives. The childrenreceive many gifts this Christmas when another guest arrives – anelderly man wearing a white wig and a patch over his right eye.This is the children’s Godfather Heir Drosselmeier.

Drosselmeier intrigues the children. He is a clock maker bytrade, but he also produces wonderful mechanical toys, which cometo life and dance. Drosselmeier gives Marie and Fritz a nutcrackerdoll and shows Marie how to use the nutcracker to crack nuts.

Fritz is jealous and takes the nutcracker from Marie and breaksthe nutcracker’s teeth when he tries to crack a very large nut.Drosselmeier and Marie attempt to repair the nutcracker. As theparty comes to an end, the guests dance “The Grandfather’s Dance” atraditional German folk dance. After everyone has left, Mariereturns to the living room to search for her Nutcracker and fallsasleep.

Drosselmeier appears, and, as the clock strikes twelve, Mariedreams she sees many mice scampering through the living room.

The living room transforms as the Christmas tree grows, andlife-size toy soldiers and the nutcracker appear to battle the miceand Mouse King. The nutcracker’s army retreats, and the nutcrackeris over powered by the Mouse King. In an act of desperation, Mariethrows her slipper at the Mouse King, and the spell placed on thenutcracker by the Mouse King’s family is finally broken.

The Nutcracker is transformed into the prince he was before, andhe leads Marie through the Land of the Snowflakes on the way to theLand of the Sweets.

The second act takes place in the Land of the Sweets at thePalace of the Sugar Plum Kingdom. The Sugar Plum Fairy arrives andintroduces Marie and the Prince to her kingdom.

The Prince tells how Marie saved him from the Mouse King. Marieand the Prince are then entertained by the Spanish dancers(chocolate), the Arabian dancers (coffee), the Chinese (tea),Mirlitons (marzipan), Candy Canes, Mother Ginger’s children thePolichinelles, a magical Waltz of the Flowers garden, and finallythe Grand Pas de Deux of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.

As Act II comes to an end, so does Marie’s dream, as her motherawakens her. But for Marie, this was no dream at all, it was veryreal.

The players, which include the many students at the BrookhavenBallet School, are Marie: Katie Morace; Angel Fairy: JenniferDiamond; Angels: Chloe Cantrelle, Alandra D. Sidney, Gracie Gray,Rivers Gray, Emma Hodgson, Lilly Hodgson, Katie Johnson, GraceyMassengill, Maggie Massengill, Caroline Nations, Rebecca Peavey,Leigh Taylor Smith, and Paige Zimmerman; Chocolate (Spanish):Kimberly McCall with Landrie Ethredge, Victoria Isaacs, ShannonMcElroy and Rachel Swords; Coffee (Arabian): Rebekah Griffin andChaz Lindsay with Alexandra Franklin and Meredith Hamilton; Tea(Chinese): Marisa Stockton with Christine Bowman and CarolineHudson-Naef; Candy Canes (Russian Trepak): Meagan Grady, LeahFrances Jones, and Julia Pendley with Anna Louise Gardner, RachelGardner, Susanna Henderson, Victoria Jordan, Skye Pruden, OliviaRoberts, and Margaret Taylor; Dance of the Reed Pipes (Mirlitons):Tracy Caldwell and Chaz Lindsay with Kimberly Bolton, CheyenneBoyte, Destiny Boyte, Ryanne Britt, Alexis Byrd, Marlee Frances,Leah Guidry, Suzanna Hennington, Sabrina Hubbard, Hannah Rautter,and Destiny Wilson; Polichinelles (Clowns) and Mother Ginger:Mattie Avants. Jessalyn Ebbers, Susanna Green, Elizabeth Green,Olivia Hodgson, Mary Elizabeth Jordan, Lizzie Mooney, KatherineShell, and Leah Thornhill; Waltz of the Flowers: Tracy Caldwell,Landrie Etheridge, Rebekah Griffin, Kimberly McCall, LeeAnn Rudman,Marisa Stockton, Chambliss Williams, Haleh Wilson; Roses: KariBerthold and Mary Mitchell Williams; Dew Drop: Elizabeth Lanoux;Cavalier: Dustin Layton; and Sugar Plum: Allison Holmes.

“The Nutcracker” choreography is under the direction of TaylorKillian, Janice Nash and David Keary.

David Keary, artistic director of Ballet Mississippi, began histraining with the Jackson Ballet under the direction of Albia KavanCooper and Thalia Mara, becoming the first professional dancerunder the direction of Thalia Mara.

Janice Nash is the Ballet Mistress and Director of the prechoolProgram for Ballet Mississippi. She is a former ballerina of theLone Star Ballet in Amarillo, Texas.

Taylor Killian, director of the Brookhaven Ballet School, beganher ballet training at the age of three in Houston, Texas, underthe direction of Gilbert Rome and Margo Marshall. She was a memberof City Ballet of Houston and attended summer workshops includingthose held by the Southwest Regional Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Schoolof the USA International Ballet Competition, University of OklahomaFestival Ballet, and many others.

After graduation Killian continued her dance career with BalletAustin, Austin Contemporary Ballet, and later the Festival Balletof Atlanta. She has danced in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Peter Pan,Les Sylphides, Sleeping Beauty, among numerous other classic andoriginal works.

The production is brought to Brookhaven through TrustmarkNational Bank, The Brookhaven Arts Council, which is a division ofthe Brookhaven Trust, and the Brookhaven Ballet School.

Editor’s note: The change in time for the performance from 6p.m. Saturday, as first advertised, to 2 p.m. was made soBrookhaven High School Panthers fans can attend both “TheNutcracker” and the high school championship football game Saturdayevening in Jackson. There will only be one performance of “TheNutcracker.”