by Carla Branch
Come ring the curtain up, the drama is beginning! Watch as the spotlight shows a merry bit of make-believe.
For 17 years, the children of The Alexandria Ballet, along with a complement of adult professional dancers have delighted audiences with performances of The Nutcracker. This year’s performance opened on Saturday to rave reviews.
“It’s such a wonderful idea to be able to expose young children to ballet in such a family-friendly environment,” said Jennifer Atkins, who attended Sunday’s performance with her daughter Maggie.
For 55 minutes, children can surround the stage and thrill to the antics of the Prince, the villainous Mouse King and the magical Sugar-Plum Fairy.
Tchaikovsky’s music transports the audience into Clara’s dream of a handsome prince, the villainous Mouse King, the magical Sugar Plum Fairy, well-drilled soldiers and dancing flowers. “I have been sharing this treasure with my family for years… this year will be five grandchildren from five to nine years of age, and their parents. We so enjoy this annual tradition,” said one local grandmother.
Virginia Britton has choreographed and directed The Nutcracker for the past 17 years. “The strength of individual personalities is what makes this thing work. In classical ballet, there isn’t a lot of character development and humor,” she said. “We do a lot of humor.”
While professional dancers performed most significant, T.C. Williams student Candace Willis plays The Arabian and 12-year-old Ella Boissonnault performs the role of Clara. ”It’s a lot of fun.”
The Nutcracker will run every weekend through December 28. The next performances will be held Sunday, December 7 at 1:00, 3:00 and 5:00 p.m., and at those same times on Saturdays and Sundays for the three following weekends.
The will-call, coat-check, and Nutcracker shop are all located in the Nutcracker Lounge adjacent to the theater space. Audience members are invited to enjoy the Nutcracker Lounge before and after performances. The Theater and Lounge are at the Alliance Dance Institute, located in the Landmark Mall, 5801 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia. There is ample free covered parking.
Tickets are available by phone or online. For more information and to purchase online, visit www.adidance.com or call Alliance Dance Institute at (703) 354-6000.
The Nutcracker Cast
Ella Boissonnault: Clara
Nathaniel Bond: The Prince
Gerald Haynes: Mouse King
Michaela Mlejvoa: Sugar Plum Fairy
Teresa Martin: Spanish Dancer
Candace Willis: The Arabian
Alexey Kudrin: Harlequin
Kelly Mann: The Doll (wind-up)
Kenza Aloui: Snowflake, Sweet, Mirliton
Megan Cahill: Snowflake, Sweet, Mirliton
Arianna Geneson: Snowflake, Sweet, Mirliton, Guard
Teresa Martin: Snowflake, Sweet
Candace Willis: Snowflake, Sweet, Mirliton
Lighting & Music