"It wouldn't be Christmas in Augusta without our beloved Nutcracker", said Tammy Westafer with the Colton Ballet Company, which kicks off the holidays with its production of The Nutcracker on Thanksgiving weekend at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24, and 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, and Sunday, Nov. 26, at the Imperial Theatre. In the beginning, the company - known back then as the Maryville-Alcoa Civic Ballet Company, founded by Cheryl Van Metre - put together the classic holiday ballet for a performance in the old Wilson Chapel on the Maryville College campus.
"We have almost 100 cast members this year and pride ourselves with bringing an elaborate, upscale production to the western suburbs ... that includes everything from moving sets, aerial work and professional guest performers", Andersen said in announcing the show. Peter Tchaikovsky's score will be performed by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. The students have been preparing since summer at A Step Above Dance Academy in Batavia, which donated the rehearsal space, said Andersen, who teaches ballet there. She never considered taking on the role of Sugar Plum, she said, but the timing was fortuitous this year: Berry, who normally dances the role, is expecting her first child on Christmas Eve. A guest performer from Vancouver's Goh Ballet will be doing the role of Mother Ginger and Drosselmeyer. "It's a tradition. I've always been in it and always will be until it ends".
"I hear the same music all the time and it does get a little bit repetitive, but I still love the production", Gonzales said.
"I gathered a lot of information for them about children who had been with the cast", she said.
Nashville Ballet is the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee. She landed several main company roles and was a featured soloist in many of them, learning a lot from her predecessors and absorbing technique and knowledge through visualization, she said. The ballet premiered in Russian Federation in December 1892.
Where other cities have the stage, here the city, to a certain degree, *is* the stage: Last year, the Brooklyn Ballet took over the Brooklyn Museum for its perennial Yuletide production, and next year it will be the 90-year-old King's Theatre on Flatbush Avenue.
The Nutcracker comes to life in this magnificent ballet comprised of lovely sets, dazzling costumes and more than 80 dancers on stage.
What is it about this production that makes it a timeless favorite? "But I don't think nerves are a bad thing; they're good, because they mean it's important to you, and that you want it to be great for the audience".