This year’s Nutcracker performances are scheduled for Saturday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 22 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets range from $15 – $30, and the performances will take place the Performing Arts Center at Allen High School located at 300 Rivercrest Blvd. in Allen.
The Tea with the Sugar Plum Fairy fundraiser will also return this year on Saturday, December 7 and will take place at the Allen Conservatory of Dance at 602 E. Main Street, Suite E. Tickets are $15 each and guests may select from three different time slots to attend. Tea guests are welcomed into the Snow Queen’s Kingdom and served tea, lemonade and treats, while characters from the ballet visit each table. Mother Ginger tells the story of the “Nutcracker” with the help of the characters, after which guests may take pictures with the cast, or get autographs on anything from toe shoes to Christmas ornaments.
This December will be the 15th Anniversary production of Allen Civic Ballet’s “Nutcracker.” December 10, 1999 marked the performance debut of the newly formed, non-profit ballet company with five Company Dancers, five Apprentice Dancers, a rented backdrop and a grant from the Allen Arts Alliance.
Since then, the Company has doubled its number of dancers, more than doubled its number of performances per season, purchased three backdrops, numerous props, spent a fortune in tutus and tiaras and given out over $10,000 in scholarship money to dancers.
The Allen Civic Ballet was the vision of five local dancers, all of whom studied with the world-renowned Nathalie Krassovska, Prima Ballerina of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the London Festival Ballet. Mdme. Krassovska functioned as the Company’s Artistic Advisor, coaching the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. That Cavalier (who was 16 years old at the time) attended Arts Magnet High School in Dallas, obtained his degree (on full scholarship) from Juilliard, and is currently dancing professionally in New York City. His Sugar Plum Fairy, Catharina Moudy, was one of the founding members of the board of the ballet company. She died in 2005. Her family, including her two children, still live in Allen.
“All five of us were of a same mind artistically; we are dedicating this performance of “Nutcracker” to her, and we believe she would have been proud of where the Company is today,” says Allen Civic Ballet’s founder, Stefanie Best.
The growth of Allen Civic Ballet is evident in its use of the Performing Arts Center at Allen High School and the use of live music, provided by the Allen Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. But the greatest growth has been in the quality of its dancers. In its formative years, the Ballet relied upon the talents of its board members to perform lead role such as the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy. For the past several years, however, these roles have all been danced by the Company dancers – all aged 12-21 years.
“It was a pleasant surprise the day that I realized that many of my students were turning out to be better dancers than I was,” says Best.
The Allen Civic Ballet is a non-profit organization; sponsorship is available at a variety of levels. For more information, please visit www.allencivicballet.org.
Story submitted by Amy Sandling Crawford