The Nutcracker: Clara welcomes guests to Sugar Plum Fairy Tea

The South Mississippi Ballet Theatre will once again brighten the holiday season with its annual performance of The Nutcracker. Clara and her prince, the Sugarplum Fairy, Uncle Drosselmeyer and the mice will carry you to the Land of the Sweets in this holiday classic.

SMBT, a pre-professional classical ballet company, presents the eighth annual performance scheduled for 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Mannoni Performing Arts Center on the campus of The University of Southern Mississippi. There will also be a second weekend of performances, at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Brownstone Center for the Arts on the Pearl River Community College Campus.

"Every year we try and add something special to our Nutcracker,” said director Arkadiy Orohovsky. “The shows are never exactly alike from year to year. This adds new magic and anticipation for the audience and the dancers. This year we have added new costumes and a bit of a change in the narrative, as well as beautiful new choreography to many of the audiences' favorite scenes.”

Auditions are open to the public each year, so along with SMBT's own students, members of other dance schools and community programs join the cast to make it truly a South Mississippi production.

"Each year, new faces are added to our own dancers who perform every year,” Orohovsky said. “It is wonderful to be able to work with students from all around Mississippi and brings a freshness to our production. The level of the dancers performing always shocks new audiences. These dancers spend more than 20 hours per week in the studio training in Classical Ballet plus additional rehearsals to make this production truly magical.”

SMBT dancers have placed in International Ballet Competitions as well as being accepted to the top ballet schools around the world.

“We are so incredibly proud of each and every one of them,” Orohovsky said. “I hope that as a community everyone will come out and support these extremely talented and hard-working young dancers."

This year, back by popular demand, South Mississippi Ballet Theatre is proud to offer The Sugarplum Fairy Tea. This enchanting tea party, hosted by the Sugarplum Fairy herself, will be held from 12:30-2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Thad Cochran Center on the USM campus of USM. Each tea ticket also includes a ticket to the Nutcracker Ballet Performance at 2:30 the same afternoon.

Join the Sugarplum Fairy as she introduces attendees to the luminous Land of the Sweets filled with cakes, candy and tea. Joining the Sugarplum Fairy will be Clara along with many of the friends she meets in her travels, including the Nutcracker Prince, the Snow Queen and the Dewdrop Fairy. This event regularly sells out and is not to be missed. 

South Mississippi Ballet Theatre was founded in 2010 by Arkadiy and Katya Orohovsky. Having met on the stage and performed throughout the country together, the Orohovskys settled in Mississippi to be close to family and to raise their son, Alexei. They opened the school and company in order to bring pre-professional ballet training to South Mississippi and to nurture dancers of all ages in the beautiful artform that is ballet. Arkadiy grew up in Kiev, Ukraine, where he trained at the Kiev State Choreographic School. After graduation, he joined the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet where he toured through Europe, North America and Japan. He danced soloist and principal roles such as the Prince in Cinderella, Siegfried in Swan Lake and the Prince in The Nutcracker.

After coming to the U.S., he danced as a principal dancer with Ballet El Paso. He joined Houston Ballet in 2000 where he continued to perform as a soloist and principal roles in the classical repertory as well as in ballets by George Balanchine and Ben Stevenson.

Katya grew up in Hattiesburg and started her dance training with Henry Danton at Pine Belt Ballet. She continued her training at such notable schools as The Kirov Academy and Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts. She has danced as a guest principal artist with her husband throughout the U.S., performing such roles as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Swanilda in Copellia. She is noted for her outstanding ability to coach young dancers in the classical ballet repertory as well as staging the full-length classics.

Tickets for The Nutcracker and Sugarplum Fairy Tea can be purchased at the USM Box Office, by calling 1-800-844-TICK, or by visiting

Tickets for The Nutcracker performed at The Brownstone Center for the Arts on the campus of PRCC in Poplarville may be purchased by calling 601-403-1180 or by visiting and entering Nutcracker Brownstone in the search terms.

For more information about South Mississippi Ballet Theatre, visit their website at, on Facebook at or emailing