High Point Ballet's 'Nutcracker' opens Friday
High Point Ballet’s annual Christmas gift to the Triad, “The Nutcracker,” returns this weekend with three performances, as well as two additional shows tailored specifically for children.
“This is our 27th year,” says founder and executive director Rita Taylor. “This has become a tradition for us. We see people coming back year after year after year, bringing their children — they sort of grow up with us, which is wonderful.”
This year’s production will be presented Friday through Sunday at the Edward C. Smith Civic Center in Lexington. The performance schedule includes two “Land of the Sweets” performances during the day Saturday, which Taylor says have been “hugely popular” through the years.
“First of all, it’s a synoptic performance — it’s an hour and five minutes with no intermission, so it’s the perfect length for young children,” she explains.
In addition, the doors open an hour early for the “Land of the Sweets” performances, and children get to see a parade of the characters in the show and go from station to station getting their autographs and posing for photos. They also get to see — to actually touch — some of the more eye-catching props and costumes from the show, and to shop at the “Nutcracker Boutique.”
“This is a great opportunity for children that they love, and they leave with a gift from the cast,” Taylor says. “This is a lot of fun for them.”
This year’s production features a cast of about 80 performers, ranging in age from 8 to about 60. Among the many dancers are a number of professionals, including two guest artists — Daevid Mendivil and Marcelo Martinez — who perform with the Manhattan Ballet. Mendivil, who is from Mexico City, will play the Snow King, and Martinez, a native of Madrid, will play Spanish and Arabian characters.
“We have a lot of former dancers who come back for this production year after year, and we really look forward to this reunion — it’s a time to dance and spend the holiday together,” Taylor says.
“‘The Nutcracker,’ because of the tradition of the dance, very much invokes passing this tradition down from one generation to another, and that’s very much what ballet is about. An 8-year-old dancer may be watching the Sugar Plum Fairy and envisioning ‘I want to be that character.’ It may be eight years down the road, but it’s about watching that experience and growing.”
And for spectators, Taylor says there’s just something special about seeing “The Nutcracker” during the Christmas season.
“I think, first of all, it’s Tchaikovsky’s wonderful music — you hear it everywhere — and this is one of the most beloved ballets ever written,” she says.
According to Taylor, the ballet appeals to people of all ages.
“The very young find it incredibly magical, and adults find it entrancing and beautiful,” she says.
“I also think the ballet is endearing because of its story line — it’s a holiday classic. A young girl receives a beautiful gift from her uncle, and she dreams about the fantasy of this character coming to life and visiting a faraway land. It’s very much the stuff that dreams are made of.”
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Want to go?
High Point Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker 2013” will be presented Friday through Sunday at the Edward C. Smith Civic Center, 217 S. Main St., Lexington.
Performance times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.
In addition, the popular “Land of the Sweets” performances will be Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., with the doors opening an hour before the show for photo and autograph opportunities. The show itself is tailored for children.
Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for students and seniors for the main performances. All seats are $20 for the “Land of the Sweets” performances. Tickets can be purchased online at www.highpointballet.org or by calling (336) 747-1414. Also, the theater box office will open one hour prior to each performance.
For more information, visit www.highpointballet.org or call 887-4472.