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Victoria Ballet Theatre presents "The Nutcracker"

By APRILL BRANDON
Dec. 6, 2010 at 6:06 a.m.
Updated Dec. 8, 2010 at 6:08 a.m.


IF YOU GO:

Performances of Victoria Ballet Theatre's "The Nutcracker" will be at the Leo J. Welder Center on the following dates and times:

8 p.m. Thursday

8 p.m. Friday

2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday

2 p.m. Sunday

Five months of preparation. Nine performances. One hundred, fifty cast members. Hundreds of costumes. Even more props. Thousands of little details. Countless hours of rehearsals.

And one nutcracker.

Mix together vigorously and add several cupfuls of blood, sweat and tears and you have Victoria Ballet Theatre's annual performances of "The Nutcracker."

Beginning Thursday and lasting through Sunday, the holiday season staple will once again grace the stage of the Leo J. Welder Center, bringing to life the adventures of Clara as she pirouettes her way through a magical land, escorted by her beloved Nutcracker Prince.

"It's a lot of hours to put this together, not even counting office time, so dedication is important, and we get that from both the company members and the community," artistic director Brenda Serrata Tally said. "It's a big show, but we've got a smart group of kids."

With several dancers from the senior company graduating last year, this year brings a younger company of dancers to the forefront. Splitting the role of Clara is Kelsey Norgard, a senior at St. Joseph High School and Madison Elder, a sophomore at West High School. The role of Fritz will be played by Andrew Boehl.

Flushing out the casting is a group of experienced guest artists, Tally said. The ballet has started a new program called Artists-in-Residence, which is an older division of the senior company composed of more experienced dancers that have already graduated from high school. In addition, Nao Kusuzaki and Ian Casady from the Houston Ballet are back to perform in the show as well as other guest performers, including Justin Flores, an alumni of the organization who went on to join the Oberlin Dance Company in San Francisco and is now dancing in New York.

And, as always, prominent members of the community have once again agreed to take turns playing the role of Mother Ginger. Among the lucky ones chosen this year are Tali Villafranca, Dr. Gary Fries, Patty Zapalac, Sherry Gorsuch, Andrew Schroer, Gerry Durocher, Steve Carroll and David Murphy.

In addition to the Mother Gingers, many other members of the community (and for the most part, non-dancers) also perform various roles in the show, many of whom who have returned year after year, Tally said. This year marks the 25th anniversary for Roberto Llano, who plays Clara's father in the first scene of the ballet.

"He played Clara's dad when I was Clara," Tally laughed. "It wouldn't be the Nutcracker without him. So many people are dedicated to this show, even after their kids graduate. We really couldn't do it without their help."

Tally added that being voted Best Production in the Advocate's Best of the Best, added an extra element to this year's performance.

"We were very excited to be voted No. 1. We didn't expect it, but it made us proud," she added. "We put a lot of work into this every year, and it was nice to be recognized by the community like that. We do this because we love it, but it's nice to have that little perk."

Tickets for the show are still available. For Thursday's opening night, the ballet is running a special, and tickets are only $20. For the rest of the performances, tickets are $25 pre-sale and $30 at the door.

Tickets are available by calling the box office at 361-570-8587.

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