An annual tradition is even more special this year, as Brighton School of Ballet returns to the stage after the pandemic pause in 2020 to celebrate its 35th anniversary performances of the holiday classic, “Nutcracker.”
Performances are set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, and Sunday, Dec. 5, at the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts, 7878 Brighton Road. This beloved production with dazzling scenery and costumes features more than 110 local dancers, supporting cast members, gymnasts, and professional guest artists from Puerto Rico.
“It’s always an honor to bring this holiday tradition to life for our students, families and community as a whole, but this year feels even more meaningful.” said Brighton School of Ballet owner and artistic director Katrina Frelich. “Because we weren’t able to perform in 2020 through a difficult COVID period, it’s an even sweeter blessing this year to see our dancers and cast members so excited to share their talents and shine their lights to our community while celebrating our 35th anniversary! We’re so grateful for the support and appreciation the community has shown us over the decades, and for the opportunity to showcase the depth of artistic talent in Livingston County.”
The beloved, family-friendly ballet tells the story of a little girl named Clara who is given a magical nutcracker doll at a Christmas Eve party featuring life-size dolls and other magical moments. Late at night, Clara battles a frightful Mouse King and his army before embarking on a wondrous journey through a snowy wonderland and the Land of Sweets, where she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Young and old alike will experience the many special effects in this production, including a Christmas tree that “grows” before your eyes, an indoor snowstorm, angel fog, and the firing of cannons onstage.
Not only is the story a timeless one uniting generations, the majority of the props and scenery used in this production were handcrafted decades ago by Frelich’s father, Dusan Shiposh, and the choreography was handed down from her mother, Deborah Shiposh, from whom she took over ownership of the studio in 2014.
This year, principal dancers Marena Peréz and Daniel Ramirez from the National Ballet Theatre of Puerto Rico and Mauro Ballet will reprise their dazzling rendition of the “Sugar Plum Pas de Deux,” while Jesús Sánchez, also of Mauro Ballet will dance the title role of the Nutcracker.
Tickets are $25 and are on sale now through Dec. 4 at www.brightonschoolofballet.com.
Here is a look at the Brighton School of Ballet’s Nutcracker productions over the years: