With Arts & Entertainment Editor Kathy L. Collins

The Brandon Ballet is excited to present its 24th annual production of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic, The Nutcracker. This year’s production highlights the magic and joy of the holiday season with original choreography by Doricha Sales, the new Artistic Director for the Brandon Ballet. There will be four performances at Riverview High School located at 11311 Boyette Rd. in Riverview. On Saturday, December 9 performances will be held at 2 and 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, December 10 performances will be held at 2 and 5:30 p.m.

The Nutcracker tells the story of a little girl named Clara who is given the gift of a wooden toy nutcracker by her Uncle Drosselmeyer. The magic happens when the toy soldier comes to life and takes Clara on a magical journey through an enchanted winter wonderland where she encounters dancing snowflakes, an elegant Snow Queen and the majestic Sugar Plum Fairy.
This year, Sales’ choreography focuses on highlighting the unique talents of each dancer and is a culmination of involvement with The Nutcracker for 40 years. This season’s production is enhanced by elegant sets and costumes.

The leading roles are being performed by a revolving cast. The Snow Queen and Snow King will be performed by the Brandon Ballet’s Sarah Parry and Mercedes Lozano with partners, Marcus McCray and guest artist, Luis Victor Santana. The Sugar Plum Fairy and Her Cavalier will be performed by guest artists, Elizabeth Martin and Jayson T. Douglass, Mercedes Lozano and Anton LaMon.

“Local audiences were recently thrilled by the performances of LaMon and Martin as the leading roles in as well as Parry, McCray and Lozano as soloists. Their manifestation into pure classical ballet with elements of neoclassical as well as characterization adaptation will thrill audiences for this year’s performance of The Nutcracker,” said Sales.

The two featured children’s roles, Clara and Fritz, will be performed by 13 year old Summer Thacker, a member of the Brandon Ballet’s Senior Company and Jeloni Parks, a 10 year old national title winner. Parks trains with Competitive Edge Dance Company in St. Petersburg.

Sales said, “All of the professional dancers are either currently in college or are collegiate attendees. They represent the elite college dance programs of Indiana University, Point Park College and New World School of the Arts. It is an honor to feature and support dually successful professional dancers.”
To get tickets, please visit www.tututix.com/brandonballet.