Tis the season for the Nutcracker

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By The Staff

The New Mexico Dance Theater Performance Company (NMDT–PC), directed by Susan Baker-Dillingham, will present its first production of the holiday classic “The Nutcracker” on Nov. 9, 10, 11, 17 and 18 at the Duane W. Smith Auditorium.
“NMDT-PC dancers have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to perform my version of this much-loved ballet,” Baker-Dillingham said. “I hope NMDT–PC’s premiere of
‘The Nutcracker’ will renew and rejuvenate your enthusiasm for this holiday favorite and prepare you for the joys of the season.”
NMDT-PC is known in the Los Alamos community for presenting both original and traditional ballets, including “Dracula,” “Snow White,” “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” “Cinderella,” “The Sleeping Beauty,” “Alice,” “Aladdin” and “A Christmas Carol.”
NMDT–PC, joined by special guests from the NMDT School, will now add Baker-Dillingham’s version of “The Nutcracker” to its repertoire.
Using her own 20-year dance career as a model, Baker-Dillingham said she bases every NMDT–PC production on a professional dance company setting, providing the dancers, the Los Alamos community and surrounding areas with “unmatched quality.”
“NMDT–PC is a training ground for students who may wish to pursue professional dance careers,” she said. “NMDT-PC dancers attend classes and rehearsals in the NMDT
School to train for their roles in every production. Rather than importing professional dancers, NMDT–PC provides its own students the opportunity to perform principal roles.”
NMDT-PC costume mistresses Marcy Anderson and Kenda Bultman, along with a team of volunteer seamstresses, have created more than 200 original costumes for the production.
Two original set pieces, including a magical doll box and a growing Christmas tree, have been designed by NMDT–PC set designer Holly Haas. Numerous props, including a large mousetrap used in the “Battle Scene,” have been created by NMDT–PC prop mistress Winnie Lamartine.
Baker-Dillingham said the lighting by Catelyn Booth, will bring the mystery and magic of “The Nutcracker” together into one production.
Notable roles in NMDT–PC’s “The Nutcracker” include Dr. Shelley Schoonover and Mark Dunn as Mr. and Mrs. Stahlbaum; McKenna Schoonover and Dalton Smith as the Maid and the Butler; Emily Brown and Jordan Baker as Clara and the Nutcracker Prince; Chris Jeffery as Herr Drosselmeyer; Andrew Jeffery as Fritz; Lindsay Roach and Kevin
Adams as the Snow Queen and Snow King; Sidra Hsieh-Ratliff and Matthew Connor Davenport as Arabian; Nicole Graham as the Dewdrop Fairy; and Sarah Dale and Devon McCleskey as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier.
“It is also great fun to have NMDT-PC alumni Karla Bultman and Rachel Mercer-Smith dancing as Party Mothers in the Act 1 Party Scene,” Baker-Dillingham said.
NMDT–PC is also showing its holiday spirit through collaboration with other organizations in the Los Alamos community. Not only is NMDT–PC including special guests from the NMDT School, but also harpist Sheila Schiferl and her students will play in the lobby before each performance and during each intermission.
Body builders Jayson Blanchard and Dallas Reilly from the Los Alamos Fitness Center will also perform during the Arabian dance.
In addition, a themed bake sale will be in the theater lobby during intermission. With each performance, a new theme will highlight one of the “Act II Divertissement” dances from the Land of the Sweets.
“Spanish Chocolate” will be the dance highlighted at the Nov. 9 bake sale. It will feature
chocolate treats and hot cocoa from Los Alamos businesses Rose Chocolatier and The Coffee Booth. Chinese Tea will be highlighted Nov. 10 and will feature fortune cookies and jasmine tea from China Moon. The “Arabian” dance will be highlighted Nov. 11. It will feature Arabian coffee from Starbucks and a cake donated by Albertson’s on Guadalupe in Santa Fe, to complement the flavor of the Arabian coffee. Starbucks will also donate a large raffle basket filled with mugs, coffee and goodies.
“The Russian” dance will be celebrated at the Nov. 17 bake sale. It will feature a variety of delicacies, including Russian teacakes, donated by Trader Joe’s of Santa Fe and peppermint tea and hot peppermint cocoa from The Coffee Booth.
As a finale on Nov. 18, Smith’s in Los Alamos will donate almond cookies, biscotti and a cake topped with marzipan accents in honor of the “Merliton” dance.
And if those aren’t enough special treats, the “Land of the Sweets” intermissions will be made all the more festive with additional treats provided by NMDT–PC parents.
As well as collaborating with other organizations for this production, NMDT–PC has in the past, also given back to the community and surrounding areas.
“It is very important to me that the students of NMDT and the dancers in NMDT–PC learn what it means to give back,” Baker-Dillingham said.
To date, NMDT–PC has partnered with Toys for Tots, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Los Alamos Heart Council, the Los Alamos Council on Cancer, the Living Treasures of Los Alamos, LA Cares food bank, Bienvenidos of Santa Fe and Village Arts of Los Alamos. The NMDT School has also partnered with many other philanthropic organizations.
For this production of “The Nutcracker,” NMDT–PC will partner with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Information regarding JDRF will be available in the lobby at each performance and a portion of every ticket sold will be donated to JDRF.
The JDRF is the leading global organization focused on Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) research.
For more information, visit jdrf.org.
Performance dates and times are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9, 10 and 17; and 2 p.m. Nov. 11 and 18. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and students and free for children four and younger. Advance tickets are available at Uli’s or at the door 45 minutes prior to performance times.
For more information about NMDT-PC, visit nmdt.org.