Crossroads residents can get an early glimpse of “The Nutcracker” and all of its fantastical holiday merriment and graceful dancing before it takes the stage in Victoria from Dec. 12-15.

“An Evening With The Nutcracker: A Holiday Masquerade,” a benefit for the Victoria Ballet Theatre, will help ensure that the holiday performance continues to be extraordinary. The dinner and festivities will be from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday at the Victoria Country Club.

“The Nutcracker” is a Christmas tradition in many homes and sells out every year, said Brenda Serrata Talley, artistic director for the ballet.

At the dinner, David Faskas will provide the opening acoustic guitar music as guests mingle and sip cocktails from the open bar. Shannon Cummins will prepare a four-course dinner using ingredients from Texana Olive Ranch and Lira Rossa Artisan Cheeses. Devereux Gardens will provide the flowers for the event.

Three Victoria Ballet dancers will entertain with a short performance to music provided by Divisi Strings, a string quartet from Houston. The dancers will include Abby O’Neill, Kieran Grones and Kyle Haschke.

Throughout the evening, guests will be able to support the ballet in a variety of ways. Cookies with the names of the items still needed for the performance will hang on a Giving Tree, which will allow donors to give in specific ways. The guests will have opportunities to sign up for eight different parties provided by the hosts. Parties will include a hip-hop dance class for 40 donated by Talley for $50 per spot. A watercolor and wine party at the Victoria Art League will include 20 spots for $100 per painter. And March Madness and Mayhem hosted by Eric and Vanessa Heinold will be geared toward the guys for $50 per game-day ticket with bracket.

An auction will include a ballerina sculpture donated by Lori and Byron Burris. The role of Mother Ginger in two upcoming “The Nutcracker” performances will also be auctioned.

Tickets are available for purchase for $100 each at

“This is the first year we are having a masquerade, so people should wear masks, and they get bonus points for fancy eccentricity,” said Tony Vasquez, who is co-chairing the event with Christy Christensen and Jillian Scheumack Cudin.

Elena Anita Watts covers arts, culture and entertainment for the Victoria Advocate. 

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