The magic and wonder of Christmas comes to life in South Mississippi Ballet Theatre’s annual production of The Nutcracker.
This classic tale follows young Clara on a dreamlike journey that begins at a festive Christmas party in her home, and leads her to a Nutcracker Prince who takes her to the spectacular Land of Sweets. Frolicking Snowflakes, an enchanting Sugar Plum Fairy and a cast of dancing treats add to the allure. With beautiful costumes, whimsical sets, talented dancers and memorable characters, it is no wonder this performance has become a holiday tradition throughout South Mississippi.
“The Nutcracker is the perfect ballet for ballet first timers and ballet aficionados alike,” said Katya Orohovsky, director. “The story, based on the children’s book, coupled with the brilliance of Tchaikovsky’s music score never fails to delight audiences and put them into the holiday spirit.”
SMBT, a pre-professional classical ballet company, presents the ninth annual performance scheduled for two weekends in the Pine Belt area. Performances are 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16 at the Mannoni Performing Arts Center on the campus of The University of Southern Mississippi. There will also be two performances the prior weekend at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at the Brownstone Center for the Arts on the campus of Pearl River Community College in Poplarville.
“Every year we try and add something special to our Nutcracker,” said Director Arkady 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 audience’s favorite scenes.”
One aspect of SMBT’s performance of The Nutcracker is that it pulls from local talent. It is a true Mississippi production. The dancers train in classical ballet 20 hours a week and up to 30 hours a week in preparation for the performance. Auditions are open to the public and every year new faces add to the freshness of the production. From the youngest baby mouse to the principal dancers in the more advanced roles, all of the dancers grow tremendously from the rigor and months of preparation it takes for this level of a performance. They work hard to make ballet look effortless.
“We are so proud of all of our dancers and the great efforts they put into making The Nutcracker a memorable experience,” said A. Orohovsky. “I hope the community will come out and support these extremely talented and hard-working young dancers.”
SMBT dancers have placed in International Ballet Competitions as well as being accepted to the top ballet schools around the world.
Tickets for The Nutcracker performances at USM in Hattiesburg can be purchased at the USM Box Office by calling 1-800-844-TICK, or by visiting www.southernmisstickets.com.
Tickets for The Nutcracker performances 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 www.brownpapertickets.com/ and entering Nutcracker Brownstone in the search terms.