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December 3, 2013 > Dance into the holidays with ÔNutcrackerÕ

Dance into the holidays with ÔNutcrackerÕ

Submitted By Peggy Peabody

Ballet Petit's production of the ÒNutcrackerÓ has become an East Bay destination over the last 35 years. Audiences come annually from all over to enjoy this full-length production danced by 300 classically trained dancers. Ballet Petit is proud to showcase its youngest as well as advanced dancers, bringing the magic of the ÒNutcrackerÓ to the community at Chabot College on December 7 and 8.

Ballet Petit's ÒNutcrackerÓ tells the story of young Clara (danced by Caylah Lindsay or Sarah Buzsaki) who receives a unique gift on Christmas Eve from her beloved Uncle Drosselmeyer (Mark Blumert) at the annual family Christmas Party. Just as Clara is fully delighted by her new treasure, her brother Fritz (Ryan Cheng) breaks it in a sudden act of jealousy. This brings the party to an end as Fritz is sent off to bed. As the house settles into the night, Clara slips back into the living room to retrieve her beloved Nutcracker, only to fall into a dream full of adventure and fantasy.

Clara helps the Nutcracker win a battle against the dreaded Rat Queen (Jamie Tang) and the Nutcracker Soldier is transformed into a handsome prince (Tim Sanders). He rewards her by taking her through the Land of Snow to visit the Sugarplum Fairy in the Land of Sweets. Here she becomes the guest of honor as angels, sweets, and flowers, under the rule of the Sugarplum Fairy, dance in her honor. The celebration ends with the mesmerizing Grande Pas de Deux danced by the Sugarplum Fairy (Hilary Sanders or Patience Gordon) and her Cavalier (Damon Mahoney). As Clara's adventure comes to an end, she awakens on her couch wondering if it was all a dream; her friends from the Land of Sweets then lull her back to sleep.

Ballet Petit is thrilled to present this ballet to the community for the 35th year. This season, in addition to many new costumes and lovely dancing, audiences will enjoy a new Party Scene backdrop by local artist Michelle Climent. We are thrilled to have another Climent piece to add to our collection of beautiful backdrops from her.

Ballet Petit, a classical ballet school, trains its dancers not only in the steps required for each role, but in the way each dancer tells a story. Even the youngest performers learn the pantomime required to tell the audience a story through ballet steps and gestures. The long-established tradition of the ÒNutcrackerÓ experience at Ballet Petit provides a structure in which beginning dancers share scenes with advanced dancers, providing an opportunity to learn parts they hope to dance in the future. Many dancers can tell stories of when they were younger, watching older dancers in the roles of their dreams. Years later, they often find themselves cast in the very roles they hoped to dance someday. Meanwhile, the advanced performers are well aware that younger dancers are carefully watching them, going through the same experience they had. The process goes on and on, year after year.

Ballet Petit is pleased to announce that in February 2013, we moved into our dream space where we will continue our mission of creating a community of young classically trained artists. Our school is now housed in a state-of-the-art 15,000 square foot facility in Hayward, across from Costco.

Since the first moment in our new home, wonderful things have been happening. The Oakland Ballet used our facility in July for its Ballet Boot Camp, a summer intensive program under the direction of Oakland Ballet's renowned Artistic Director, Graham Lustig. During Ballet Boot Camp, Lustig discovered the talent of Ballet Petit's dancer Patience Gordon (one of our two Sugarplum Fairies), inviting her to join the Oakland Ballet Company as his first apprentice. She is only 17, yet has recently begun working daily as a professional apprentice company dancer. Patience will be dancing in the Oakland Ballet ÒNutcrackerÓ at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland in late December, along with 10 other young Ballet Petit dancers in various children's roles. Meanwhile, each week, classes are enjoyed by about 300 hard-working dancers, including about 25 adult ballet students and 14 boys.

ÒNutcrackerÓ tickets are available through $25 for adults and $20 for children and seniors. Group discounts are available. Audience members young and old are invited to meet the Sugarplum Fairy, Clara, and their friends in the lobby area free of charge after each 2 p.m. show immediately following the performances.

Saturday, Dec 7 and Sunday, Dec 8
2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Reed Buffington Center for the Performing Arts, Chabot College
25555 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward
(510) 783-4958

Tickets: $25 adults, $20 children and seniors

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