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Whidbey Island Dance Theatre’s 19th “Nutcracker”
Nineteen flowers a-leaping, 19 rats a-squeaking, 19 Claras emoting and 19 Christmas trees a-growing.
That’s the magic number for Whidbey Island Dance Theatre’s 19th season of “The Nutcracker,” which opened Friday night and continues through Dec. 18 at South Whidbey High School Auditorium.
The cast of the hugely popular presentation on South Whidbey includes a number of dancers from North and Central Whidbey Island.
Co-director and choreographer Susan Campbell Sandri said this year’s famous Christmas ballet, set as always to the charming music of Tchaikovsky’s beloved “Nutcracker Suite,” may be going on 19, but it still has plenty of exciting new surprises added to the yearly extravaganza that invites more than 50 guest artists to join the company dancers.
“Our loyal fans will be surprised to see Godfather Drosselmeyer’s amazing new abilities this year. Look for him in new places,” she said.
“There are also new faces and characters in the ‘Living Room,’ new costumes in ‘Snow,’ and all new choreography ‘Underwater,’” Sandri added.
Sandri said the ballet blends traditional and imaginative new choreography to tell the tale of Clara’s enchanted Christmas Eve when her mysterious godfather’s magic leads her into a wonderland of fantasies. Clara journeys to lands where snow flakes and flowers dance; where fairies, mermaids and even a dragon perform. And, of course in the end, a handsome prince comes to her rescue.
The role is a dream for every young dancer and this year, 16-year-old South Whidbey High School junior Elliauna Madsen gets to dance the role of Clara.
Madsen’s Nutcracker prince is Ty Molbak, whose first ballet role was Frederick in the company’s 2006 production of the Christmas ballet. Molbak is now a pre-professional, Los Angeles based dancer and Sandri said she is thrilled to have him back on the Whidbey Island stage.
Those who will help these dancers to highlight the best of their gifts are the choreographers. They include artistic director Charlene Brown and artistic director Sandri, with guest choreographers Bondelid, Leigh-Anne Cohen-Hafford, Matthews-Jensen, Susan Vanderwood and Graham Vanderwood.
Whidbey Island’s remarkable talent pool of artists is brilliantly reflected in this production with sets and props by Whidbey designers and painters Mary Ellen O’Connor, and Gary and Tarey Kay. Sumptuous costumes are by local fabric artists, including Class Act Tutus, Tarey Kay of Tarey Togs, Aloria Lanshaw of Scattered Threads, with masks by Dayna Antognini, Kris Schricker, O’Connor and Diana Shirley. Special effects are by Whidbey resident Hollywood professionals Ray Brown and Bob Rigg.
The ballet will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10, 16 and 17, and at 2 p.m. Dec. 10, 11 17 and 18. All performances are at the South Whidbey High School Auditiorium in Langley.
Advance tickets are $22 for adults, $15 for children 17 and younger, and $20 for seniors. Tickets are $22 for everyone at the door. Tickets are available at the WIDT box office at Ken’s Korner Mall, at Whidbey Coffee kiosks in Clinton and Freeland, or by calling 360-341-2221. Visit www.widtonline.org for more info.
Box office hours are from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
The second of two reduced price performance will take the stage tonight, Dec. 10, with tickets at $15 each. Visa and Mastercard are accepted.