'Nutcracker' launches Christmas season

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113 area dancers on stage with Columbia City Ballet

By Emily Pollok

“Nutcracker” returns to Lancaster this year with the Columbia City Ballet performing the Christmas classic about Clara and her adventures through the Land of Sweets with her Nutcracker prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy.
The magical ballet is based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” a story that has enchanted children and adults alike since it was written in 1816.
William Starrett, executive and artistic director of the Columbia City Ballet, said this year’s performance will be bigger and better than ever.
“We’re thrilled that we’re coming back to Lancaster,” he said.
A record number of children are taking part in the production this year, with 113 kids coming from all over Lancaster County to dance in the festive ballet. They have been rehearsing since early September.
“They’re very focused,” Starrett said of the local cast members. “It’s a real, professional production.”
The ballet follows the plot of the original story, and Starrett has stayed relatively close to the script of the well-loved tale.
“It’s a tradition, so there’s certain parts you wouldn’t change,” he said.
However, there will be some new elements to the performance this year, with new costumes, a new Russian dance and some changes to the traditional choreography.
This year, male dancers will perform in the famous snow scene.


“That’s really unusual,” he said.
Traditionally, only female ballerinas dance in this scene, but Starrett felt that male dancers would add to the number, creating a more dynamic ensemble.
For anyone who hasn’t seen a ballet before, Starrett described it as “kind of like dancing Broadway.”
He said “Nutcracker” would be a good ballet for first-timers, because the story is very easy to follow.
“It’s just great ballet,” he said.
The performance is 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at Lancaster High School, 325 Woodland Drive, Lancaster. Tickets are $25 for Lancaster County Council of the Arts members, $30 for non-members, and $40 for preferred seating, and are available at www.lccarts.net or by calling (803) 285-7451.
Local dancers
Licorice Whips: Kristen Ballard, Tynus Brevard, Demetria Cabbagestalk, Gracie Catoe, P.J. Duncan, Baliya Dye, Nofuri Gaitan, Isabella Ihm, Olivia Ihm, Mackenzie Jackson, Niyana Jones, Madeline McKay, Aubree Rape, Juliana Sanchez, Jonai Stowe, Lari Thompson, Kayley Veal and Shamani Whetstone
Land of the Sweets Attendants: Precious Adams, Micaela Ballard, Jayden Blackmon, Abigail Collins, Laterrianna Danzy, Andrea Herod, Bailee Williams, Mariah Woods and Mollie Drake
Butterflies: Kirsten Jenkins, Taylor Rollings, Hailey Patrowic and Sophia Smith
Shoe Page: Zykeim Williams
Dew Drop Fairy Attendants: Kelly Bowers, Carissa McAteer, Nolexia Reyes and Caitlynn Warsop
Party Boys: Jackson Marshall, Robert Montalvo and Michael O'Gorman
Cartwheel Mice: Kyla Duncan, Faith Herring, Sofia Miranda, Audrey Perdelwitz, Ryann Satchers, Lana Smith, Quinn Smith, Kirsten Spitz and Emme Warrin
Rollover Mice: Lila Marsalis, Noelle Marshall, Landry Palmer, Ella Parker, Olivia Rink and Isabel Troche
Cherubs: Abigail Barker, Norah Cagle, Claire Crocker, Sadie Jones, Hartleigh McCarver, Kassidy Miller, Blair Moore, Isabella O'Gorman, Nicole Price, Emery Sellhorst, Sydney Siemietkowski and Khloe Small
Lead Angels: Joey Effren, Stella Warner and Jordyn Nahum
Angels: Elisa Benton, Simone Carter, Erica Hancock, Kylie Martin, Jordan Mock, Sierra Morris, Avery Sellhorst, Sarah Taylor, Brighton Tinholt and Emily Grace Urban
Chinese Tea Peddlers: Emma Blankenbecler, Abigail Collins, Jillian Franklin, Aurora Gordon, Andrea Herod, Lena Roberts and Bailee Williams
Sugar Plum Fairy Attendants: Abbey Dockweiler, Rylan Hileman, Amelia Wilkerson
Trumpeters: Molly Peterson, Lillian Moore, Samantha Hendrickson and Estella Carfagna
Bon Bons: Jaleyah Ashby, Alexa Graham, Isla Hardin, Alexis Hilton, Addison Israel, Ashbie Johnson, Bailee Musco, Alexis Pellegrini, Alexis West and Felicity Young
Gingerbread Girls: Sophia Cope, Kameron Duncan, Ella McCullough, Aubrey Norton, Alexis Roth, Emily Rowell and Katharine Spitz

Follow Emily Pollok on Twitter @PollokEmily or contact her at (803) 283-1155.