Travel to the Kingdom of Sweets

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By Madalina Ciuca

You know Christmas is around the corner when “The Nutcracker” performances are approaching.
Coming to Duane Smith Auditorium at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 and 2 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4, the 2011 “Nutcracker” promises to be different than previous performances.
Under the direction of Christin Severini and Valerie Silks, the revamped “Nutcracker” features new costumes and choreography.
With the help of prop volunteers, new set pieces are added on a yearly basis as well. Not only do “Nutcracker” performances vary from year to year, but also from day to day.
Starring as Mother Gingers, Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Gene Schmidt (Dec. 2), Los Alamos Police Chief of police Wayne Torpy (Dec. 3) and Dr. Ben Neal (Dec. 4) will grace the stage of the auditorium, as performers for the day.
“The Nutcracker” is a holiday ballet, which transports the audience into the dreams of young Clara, who journeys through a winter wonderland in order to reach the Kingdom of Sweets.
With choreography by Shannon Elliott, Lisa Jaegers, Severini, Silks, Bob Nolen, Sally Nolen and Edward Ellison and guest artists from the Ellison Ballet in New York City, the young dancers involved seem motivated to create a memorable show for the audience.
The ballet stars Catherine Rousculp as Clara, Cody Maggiore as the Nutcracker Prince, with Erin Burr and Megan Kelley as the Rose and Snow Queens.
Other performers from Los Alamos High School are: Holly and Jenna Erickson, Lauren Burr, Renee D’Andrea, Louisa Singleton and Sally Grindstaff.
The entire cast has been rehearsing since September, but the long period of time spent rehearsing does not bother the performers. “This will be my ninth ‘Nutcracker’ and being a senior, I find it more exciting than ever,” Erin Burr said.
Most cast members have participated in this holiday ballet since 2005, but there are new talents to be discovered in this year’s performance.
Burr said, “Each year we have a new pool of young dancers and it’s so exciting for them.”
The cast even has yearly traditions. Wearing “Nutcracker” shirts, making play lists backstage, giving each other gifts and going on Subway runs are just a few of the ways in which members of the ballet bond.
Those interested in seeing this modern take on Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, can purchase tickets at CB Fox in Los Alamos and Smith’s Food and Drug in White Rock.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 children ages 2-18.