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Seeing the 'Nutcracker' through the eyes of a child

Dec. 9, 2010 at 6:09 a.m.

Nathan Umphries and Steven Brown enjoy a moment in the performance of The Nutcracker.

TO BE HONOREDAfter 18 consecutive years starring in "The Nutcracker," Vladislav Glouchkov will be honored by the Victoria City Council, which is proclaiming Friday as Vladislav Glouchkov Day. Council member Denise Rangel will make a special presentation prior to the Friday evening performance of "The Nutcracker."

Glouchkov began his dance training at age 9 with Rodnechok, a contemporary dance troupe in Russia, according to his bio. In 1993, he came to the U.S. and spent three years as a member of the Austin Contemporary Ballet. Currently living in Austin with his wife and two daughters, Glouchkov returns to Victoria every December to perform in the show, playing multiple roles such as Peppermint and Coffee.

If you would have asked third-grader Kylee Tullos earlier this week if she thought ballet could include fighting and battle scenes, she would have told you emphatically, "No." One performance of Victoria Ballet Theatre's "The Nutcracker" later, and she was in awe.

"It was cool. I loved the part where the Nutcracker and the rat started fighting," the Hallettsville Elementary student said. "There was a lot of fighting, and it was funny to see it in a ballet."

Kylee was just one of hundreds of students Thursday who got to see the holiday staple at the Leo J. Welder Center. The cast puts on a total of four performances for area students on Thursday and Friday, and this year, about 20 schools signed up to attend, artistic director Brenda Serrata Tally said.

"My favorite performances are the school shows," Tally added. "It's so exciting for them and they start 'oohing' and 'ahhing' when they just walk into the theater."

Although many of the students were enamored throughout the entire performance, the battle scene in the first act seemed to be a favorite for most.

"It was great. All that dancing and ballet was kind of cool. But my favorite part was when the battle began," Hallettsville Elementary third-grader Ryan Targac said. "It was the biggest part I ever thought of."

His classmate, Bret Etzler, agreed.

"I liked the battle scene because when the Nutcracker soldiers shot the mice, it was funny," he said.

The kids weren't the only ones who enjoyed the performance. For Kelsey Norgard, who plays Clara in the ballet, there is something magical about dancing for young children who haven't seen "The Nutcracker" before.

"There's definitely a difference between performing for the kids and the general public. The kids are so energetic, and they react more," she said. "It's more fun performing for the kids because they seem to enjoy it more. I know adults enjoy it too, but the kids interact and yell out and laugh throughout the whole thing."

Public performances of "The Nutcracker" will continue through Sunday. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets are $25 presale and $30 at the door. To order tickets, call 361-570-8587.



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