The Augusta Youth Ballet Company will perform the holiday classic ballet, "The Nutcracker" at 8 p.m. on Dec. 17 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 18 at the new Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
The Augusta Youth Ballet Company is comprised of 25 dancers in the junior and senior company ages 10-18, and 16 dancers ages 8-10 in the junior apprentice company. The company is directed by Nina M. Scattaregia.
The ballet is based on the story by E.T.A.Hoffman's "the Nutcracker and the Mouse King," and the musical score was written by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The first performance of "The Nutcracker" ballet was on Dec. 17, 1892. Today the ballet is performed by professional companies, civic and youth companies nationally.
Members of the Augusta Youth Ballet Company will present two performances of ‘The Nutcracker’ on Dec. 17 and 18 at the new Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts at West Virginia Wesleyan College. Also, joing the cast will be members of the Buckhannon Community Theater.
"We are thrilled to bring a production of this size to the community and to give our dancers an opportunity to perform in the new performing arts center at Wesleyan," Scattaregia said.
Augusta first performed the ballet in 1998 and has grown and developed the production in more recent years. Choreography and costumes are continually enhanced each time the ballet is presented. This year's performance will feature the largest cast for the ballet. In addition to the primary company, 35 dancers from The Dance Factory will perform in Act 2 of the ballet as angels.
The role of Clara will be danced by Emma Loudin, a sixth-grader from Buckhannon, during the Dec. 17 performance and by Zoe Payne, a fifth-grader from Belington, during the Dec. 18 performance. Additional lead roles in the ballet will be performed by senior company dancers: Amy Livesay and Ryan McAtee in the snow pas de deux, and Lindsey Sayre and Caleb Waybright in the Arabian pas de deux. Kristen Sayre and Ryan McAtee will perform the Grand Pas de Deux as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier. Sayre, McAtee and Waybright are alumni of the Augusta Youth Ballet Company and are now students in West Virginia Wesleyan College Department of Theatre and Dance. Lance Russell will dance the role of The Nutcracker and is one of the primary faculty members at The Dance Factory.
Also joining the cast will be members of the Buckhannon Community Theater, R.J. Gibson performing as Herr Drosselmeyer and Keith and Chris Buchanon, performing as the Stalbaums. Mary Beth Adams, dancer and scientist from Elkins, will portray the Mouse King. Sabrina and Shannon Loudin, from Buckhannon, will perform the roles of the grandparents of Clara in Act I. The production also includes a never-before cast of all adults dancing the large and quirky mice. Tonry Lathroum, a member of United Scenic Artists and an award winning lighting designer from Beckley, will create the lighting design for the ballet.
Tickets are available at The Dance Factory, Whimsical Treasures, Diane's Hallmark and via Paypal at www.dancefactorywv.com. For more information, call The Dance Factory at 304-472-8291.