Hundreds of students from the Santa Clarita Valley had a chance to watch a special performance of Santa Clarita Ballet Company’s “The Nutcracker” at the College of the Canyons Performing Arts Center Wednesday.
The classical presentation of the holiday ballet featured guest professionals and company dancers as part of the ballet’s annual Student Outreach Program to educate young students about the arts.
“The first Nutcracker that we did out here in Santa Clarita was in 1995,” Executive Director Corrine Glover said. “This year we have six shows.”
Wednesday’s performance included a full cast of characters like the Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Princess and featured local dancers, like West Ranch High School senior Julia Dunne as the Flower Queen and Saugus High School senior Brooke Stanke as the Rat King.
The fourth grade students from the Newhall School District and local charter schools also had a chance to speak with the ballet’s directors and choreographers and ask them questions about the Nutcracker’s origins.
“It [The Nutcracker] is based on a story by someone named E.T.A. Hoffman and he lived in the early 1800s in Germany,” Artistic Director Carol Guidry told the audience of fourth grade students during a Q&A portion of the performance. “Then in Russia, there was a famous choreographer named Petipa…. he had read the story and thought it would make a nice ballet and that took place more than 100 years ago.”
Guidry also taught the students about the Tchaikovsky, ballet’s composer, who also wrote music for famous ballets like “Swan Lake” and “Sleeping Beauty.”
During this Q&A time, the directors also answered questions about the ballet’s choreography, costumes, special effects and masks.
“To make the rat masks I do something like Papier-mâché,” said Joe Seely, the narrator of “The Nutcracker” who also made the ballet’s props. “Instead of making them out of paper and glue, I used fabric and glue… and make secret windows so they can see.”
Through its outreach program, the Santa Clarita Ballet Company hopes to inspire others to appreciate and pursue the arts.
General admissions tickets for “The Nutcracker” are on sale now through the Santa Clarita Ballet office. The ballet will hold shows Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
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