There are plenty of ways to celebrate this holiday weekend, from a touch football game, to an all-out Black Friday discount quest. After you’ve eaten that second turkey sandwich and shopped until you dropped, embrace the arts with a traditional holiday tradition: The Nutcracker Ballet.
The Nutcracker Ballet is the perfect blending of gorgeous sets and costumes with a timeless story and score. This family-friendly ballet gestures in the holidays as we are whisked into young Claire’s adventure as her toy nutcracker comes to life to defeat the evil Mouse King. The magical experience, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, pulls us into a land of life-size toys, dancing sweets, and a Nutcracker prince.
Throughout the Adirondacks there are opportunities to watch this storied ballet come to life. Plattsburgh’s North Country Ballet Ensemble (NCBE) is hosting its 32nd annual production. Professionalism is the focus of NCBE, as it draws on its longstanding relationship with New York City’s Rebecca Kelly Ballet and other NYC costumers and artistic staff. This year, two NYC professional dancers once again join the NCBE cast of regional dancers. Rebecca Kelly Ballet principal dancer Therese Wendler will dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy while American Ballet Theatre’s Mikhail Ilyin will dance the part of the Cavalier.
Held at the SUNY Plattsburgh Hartman Theatre, NCBE’s production opens November 24 at 7:30 pm with additional performances on November 25 at 2 and 7:30 pm, and November 26 at 2 pm. Advanced tickets for the Plattsburgh performances can be purchased at The Party Factory, 10 Plattsburgh Plaza. In Lake Placid performance times are December 2 at 1 pm and 7:30 pm as well as December 3 at 1 pm. All tickets for the December performances may be purchased from the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.
The Wood Theatre’s resident dance company, Adirondack Ballet Theatre, is presenting its 26th annual Nutcracker Ballet on December 8 at 7 pm, December 9 at 2:30 and 7 pm, as well as December 10 at 2:30 pm. This holiday favorite hosts a cast of students ranging in age from 4-18, as well as regional actors and guest artists
In the Central Adirondacks, The Old Forge Ballet Company gathers community members and dancers throughout Inlet and Old Forge to participate in and attend its December 9 performance at The Strand. According to Old Forge Ballet Associate Director Linda Lorenz LaDue, the Nutcracker is a perfect opportunity for the public and dance students to experience classical ballet.
For anyone wishing to break with tradition check out the Saratoga City Ballet’s The Nutcracker: Sweet and Swingin’. The Nutcracker with a modern twist is described as a blending of jazz, tap, African dance, and ballet featuring The Chuck Lamb/Ria Curley Quintet as well as Tango Fusion’s Johnny Martinez and Diane Lachtrupp. The December 16 performance will be held at the Saratoga Springs High School Loewenberg Auditorium.
Happy Nutcracker Season!
Photo of North Country Ballet Ensemble’s Nutcracker courtesy Lisa Keegan Photography.