It’s that time of the year again when another generation of Sacramentans will be introduced to the beauty and magic that others have come to love and treasure in the holiday tradition of “The Nutcracker.”
Sacramento Ballet Artistic Director Ron Cunningham’s well-known production of the world’s most beloved ballet — with its fanciful characters, growing Christmas tree, dancing Snowflakes and all of the denizens of the Land of the Sweets — will soar once again at the Community Center Theater, Dec. 9-23, with 13 performances showing off the artistry and athletic ability of the company’s exceptional dancers. Tickets are on sale now.
This will be the 24th year for Cunningham’s immensely popular production. In addition to the 30 professional dancers, dozens of production and wardrobe crew, and professional musicians of the Sacramento Philharmonic, this ballet tradition features almost 500 youngsters from ages 6 to teenage filling 135 roles in each performance. They come from more than 40 different cities — some commuting from as far away as Yuba City to the north, Tiburon to the west and Valley Springs in Calaveras County for rehearsals and performances. Taking part in “The Nutcracker” has become such a part of the region’s history that now, there are children performing whose parents filled the many roles years ago.
Ever the showman, Cunningham is determined to show off the company’s multi-faceted artists. While many are familiar with the exciting Russian Dance, few will have seen the athletic “fireworks” brought to the stage by Stefan Calka, a dancer of Ukrainian heritage and with a background in Ukrainian dance. The Arabian Dance is always an audience favorite, with its beautiful partnering requiring both strength and grace from the dancers, and both of the pas de deux — that of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier and that of the Snow King and Snow Queen — call for outstanding technical ability, athleticism, strength and grace.
Another highlight of the ballet’s holiday season will be the return of the Sugar Plum Fairy Tea. This year at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11. Audience members, and even those who have not attended the show that day, are invited to enjoy a Tea Party hosted by the Sugar Plum Fairy. The tea party includes tea, punch or coffee, delectable tea treats, souvenir photo, a memory book and autograph opportunities, as well as photo opportunities with the Sugar Plum Fairy and other stars of the show.
Tickets are limited to this event, so early ticketing is recommended. Cost it $20 per person through the Sacramento Ballet box office only: (916) 552-5800, ext 2; or sacballet.org (then “Tickets”).
Individual tickets for all performances of the Sacramento Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” are available at the Community Center Theater Box Office — (916) 808-5181 — or through Tickets.com, 800-225-2277 (additional convenience fees apply). Individual ticket prices range $15 to $69 for adults, and $15 to $31 for children younger than 12. Groups of 10 or more get 10 percent off individual tickets. Groups of 20 or more receive 20 percent off individual tickets.
The sponsor for this year’s production of “The Nutcracker: is the Raley’s Family of Fine Stores. The sponsor of this year’s Sugar Plum Fairy Tea is Classique Catering.
Sacramento Ballet’s 2011-12 season continues through May 31, 2012. For information on any Sacramento Ballet program visit sacballet.org, or call (916) 552-5800 ext. 108.