New England Academy of Dance production of The Nutcracker Ballet has become a holiday tradition in Fairfield County. Three full-length performances of the beloved Nutcracker will be danced on the New Canaan High School stage on Friday, December 8th at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, December 9th at 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 10th at 4:00 p.m. There will be an interactive children’s performance of Act II on Saturday, December 9th at 11:00 a.m. and, in the spirit of giving, there will also be a special charity performance for members of local social organizations such as the Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Person to Person in Darien, and The Boys & Girls Club of Stamford.
The Nutcracker, a classical two-act ballet based on the story by E.T.A Hoffmann, follows the enchanting journey of young Clara, who receives a Nutcracker as a gift on Christmas Eve. In her vivid, come-to-life dreams, her Nutcracker is transformed into a handsome prince, who leads her on a magical journey through an enchanted forest to his Palace of Sweets where she meets the exquisite Sugar Plum Fairy and the people of the Land of Sweets. This year’s production features a number of New Canaan residents in prominent roles. Sophie Graham stars as Sugar Plum, Grace Stearns reprises her role as Arabian Princess, Morgan Walling performs as Flute, and Rose Engel shines as Snow Queen. Two Saxe Middle School students also feature in the Party Scene: Maddie Iulo as Little Clara, and Meredith Knauf as Fritz.
Lavish sets and dazzling costumes serve as the backdrop to the extraordinary talent of The Nutcracker cast, which is comprised of more than 250 dancers and includes students from the New England Academy of Dance and professional guest artists from New York City. For both the youngest dancers, performing for the first time as Angels, and the most experience dancers alike, the magic of The Nutcracker casts its spell on all. “It is a magical time of year and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it than by performing in The Nutcracker, ” says Ginna Ortiz, one of the company’s directors. The excitement and enthusiasm runs high among parents of NEAD students as well, many of whom take the stage in the “Party Scene” which opens Act I. The result is a production that will delight audiences of all ages: a charming story told through superbly executed choreography and set to some of the most stirring music ever composed.
For the first time ever, the ballerinas will be accompanied by a live performance of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece by the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Jonathan Yates. The Norwalk Symphony Orchestra will perform the individual pieces of music that bring each scene to life. For over 77 years, Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, a passionate group of musicians, has offered towns throughout Fairfield County the opportunity to explore and discover the joys of professional orchestral music.
Seating for NEAD’s annual Nutcracker is reserved and tickets are now available online. For ticket sales, please visit our website at www.neadance.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the door at New Canaan High School. Prices for the full performance are $40 for Adults and $30 for Seniors and Children; prices for the Children’s performance are $25 for all guests.