by HAP MANSFIELD
For the first time, River City Ballet is performing Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in its entirety as the San Marcos-based company celebrates its tenth anniversary.
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What: The Nutcracker
Who: Performed by River City Ballet company
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15
Where: San Marcos Performing Arts Center, 2601 McCarty Lane
This year’s re-imagined staging of the Christmas staple includes new props and sets and a live orchestra. It also includes Mayor Daniel Guerrero dressed in drag as Mother Ginger, the comical character who gives birth to eight gingerbread children in the ballet’s second act.
“The dancers are so excited to present the full-length version of the Nutcracker this year. They have worked hard learning the dances. I think their passion for their art will be evident during the performance,” said Caitlin Kelly, the ballet’s artistic director.
Each year, attendees are thrilled by the athletic grace of River City’s young dancers but this will be the first year all 15 scenes will be performed, including the dramatic war between rats and soldiers and a journey to the Land of Sweets. Tchaikovsky based the world-famous ballet on the unusual fantasy written by E.T.A. Hoffman “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”
An award-winning guest dancer, Patrick Van Buren of Ballet San Antonio, will perform the title role of the Nutcracker.
Conducted by Christopher Hanson, the San Marcos-based SMART Orchestra will enrich the production as will improvements to the sets, lighting and props contributed by the San Marcos High School theater department. The high school’s robotics team even contributed a magical moving sleigh.
A highlight of the River City Ballet’s program each year, the Nutcracker is used for critical fundraising to support the nonprofit youth company’s cultural work in Central Texas.
Before and after each performance, the Nutcracker Holiday Market will offer unique tree ornaments, nutcrackers, gifts and other merchandise.The market will also feature Nutcracker themed treats for young folks and candy lovers including gummy rats, ballet shoe lollipops, edible snow and sugar plums. Profits from the market benefit future River City Ballet performances and outreach.
Attendees will be offered the chance to buy $1 raffle tickets before the curtain goes up for a chance to win an exquisite $80 Snow Queen tiara. The Snow Queen, Elizabeth Hewitt, will give away a tiara at the intermission of both performances. Tickets for the raffle may also be purchased at the front office of the Central Texas Ballet Conservatory, 101 East Hopkins Street.
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