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home : good life : good life August 27, 2015

12/11/2013 8:25:00 AM
'The Nutcracker' ushers in SCDT's 36th season

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Beautiful fairies, dancing snowflakes and a magical Nutcracker who comes to life are a part of the wonderful tradition of the holiday season’s presentation of The Nutcracker Ballet. The South Carolina Dance Theatre opens its 36th season with performances on Dec. 13, 14 and 15 at the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center.

The Nutcracker tells the story of a young girl named Clara who receives a magical nutcracker and embarks upon a journey through the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. She meets the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince and is entertained by dancers from the Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, and Russian kingdoms.

A must see for the holiday season, this beloved classic is an event for the whole family. Set to Tchaikovsky’s famous music, the ballet features elaborate scenery, professional costuming by Lynn Barnard, costume mistress, and intricate choreography and riveting dance, all of which make for an exceptional experience for young and old.

Performance times are Friday at 7:30 p. m., a matinee on Saturday, at 3 p. m., an evening performance on Saturday at 7:30 p. m., and a Sunday matinee at 3 p. m.

Reservations are available by calling the PAC box office at 661-4444 during box office hours of noon to 5 p. m., Monday through Friday. For patrons who wish to obtain tickets online, visit the online box office at

Tickets are $32, $27 and $22 in accordance with three levels of seating. All student tickets are $15.

The ballet is under the direction of Susan Rowe, artistic director. The story of The Nutcracker is familiar to all as the children Clara and Fritz are entertained at a party given by their parents. Drosselmeyer, Clara’s favorite uncle, gives her a magical Nutcracker. She falls asleep and dreams and when she awakens, the room is filled with mice and toy soldiers who have come to life under the Christmas tree. A ferocious battle ensues and the Nutcracker leads the charge of the soldiers against the mice who attack Clara. Clara saves the Nutcracker’s life and the dream continues as he turns into a handsome prince. Together they journey into the Kingdom of the Sweets where toys come to life, flowers dance before their eyes and the Sugar Plum and her Cavalier perform their magical pas de deux.

Leading roles in the ballet are Camille Knockemus and Hannah Griffin alternating as Clara, Petra Morgan and Ashley Griffin alternating as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Rachel Flamini and Petra Morgan alternating as Snow Queen with demi-solists Leah Abbott and Caitlin Holt, Ellie Arnold and Kendall Ferrara alternating as Dew Drop Fairy with Jenna Goodman as demi-solist.

Performing as dolls in the Party Scene are McKenna Dynan as Columbine Doll and Natalie Dean as Cadet Doll. Dancers from the Kingdoms visited by Clara include Jenna Goodman as Spanish, Lazaria George and Ellie Arnold alternating as Arabian with Kelsey Braswell and Kailey White as demi-solists, Leah Abbott and Caitlin Holt as Tea, Kendall Ferrara and Lazaria George alternating as Russian with demi-solists Alyssa Hanna and Rosemary Flamini, and Ashley Griffin and Rachel Flamini alternating as Marzipan with Hannah Griffin and Camille Knockemus as Shepherdesses.

The company welcomes guest artist Tevfik Vatansever who will perform as Snow King and Cavalier. He trained at the Governor’s School for the Arts and is currently at the University of South Carolina.

Other notable guests are Nick Townsend as Drosselmeyer, Patsy Stone as Grandmother, Jeff Murrie as Grandfather, Meggie Baker as Frau Stahlbaum and Rob Curran as Herr Stahlbaum. Party Guests from the community include Sarah Collier, Lindsey Tayara, Heather Warner, Meghan Curran, Larry Chewning, Andrew Stout, CJ Miller, Jovan Kindred, Will Bynum and Peter Collier.

Weaver Whitehead performs as the Cannon Boy, Ariadne Roberts as Mouse King with Ella Naylor as Mouse Cadet and Alyssa Hanna as Soldier Cadet, Cavendar Holt as the Nutcracker.

Other dancers in the production include Elizabeth King, Reeve Barnes-Young, Madilyn Johnson, Bailey Barefoot, Carolyn Conner, Isabelle Dauksch, Ella King, Carley Lewis, Alyssa McGee, Brailey Sloan, Amelia Whitehead, Gracie Wilson, Anna Kate Avent, Kristen Carter, Celine Cotran, Hailey Hanna, Shelby Humphries, Mary Miles Lee, Alaina Naylor, Nicole Petereit, Olivia Robertson, Caelin Sloan and Ella Warner.

One of the highlights of the production is the specially auditioned angels who open the second act. They include Natalie Brewton, Catherine Canfield, Evie Cobb, Lydia Danforth, Isabelle Hess, Emma Kate McLaughlin, Sophia Markowitz, Lily Merzlak, Mary Elaine Powers, Sienna Palumbo, Molly Welsh and Emma Wentzel.

The South Carolina Dance Theatre is a non-profit company dedicated to the training of dancers in a pre-professional setting with emphasis on performance. Located at 1310-B Second Loop Road, the company holds annual auditions and also sponsors preparatory classes and summer camps for younger dancers. For additional information, contact the SCDT at 843-669-3991 or by email to 

Galloway Mosley
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