'Nutcracker' Hits Town for Weekend
BY MARY ELLE HUNTER
Special to The Pilot
The traditional ballet that is a mainstay of the holiday -season worldwide makes its appearance in the Sandhills for the Thanksgiving weekend.
Moore OnStage and Taylor Dance present a lavish version of the "Nutcracker" as an ideal entertainment for the gathering of families in the holiday mood.
The classic story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince will be told in music and dance at the Robert E. Lee Auditorium of Pinecrest High School on Nov. 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m., and at 2 p.m. on Nov. 26 and 27.
A special "Land of the Sweets" showing of "Nutcracker" on Saturday morning, Nov. 26, has been designed to particularly attract families with children who want to interact with the personalities seen on stage.
A "Parade of Characters" from the ballet begins at 9 a.m. in the lobby of the auditorium, followed by a chance for youngsters to meet and talk with the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Nutcracker, Clara, the Mouse King and the other characters from the ballet, before curtain time at 10 a.m.
Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras, since picture taking will definitely be allowed, and signed cards with autographs will be distributed.
According to Rita Taylor, who with her husband, Gary, is the co-director of the production, the opportunity gives the children a tangible experience, as well as a chance to talk with the dancers. "We present a slightly shortened version of the 'Nutcracker' for this performance, which runs exactly one hour and five minutes," she says. "Then at the end of the show, we have a delightful giveaway, with the dancers who have performed the various roles participating in a raffle of gift objects tied to the story. Children are asked to sign up for the raffle before the show starts for a chance to win a prize, such as beautifully decorated toe slippers of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Snow Queen, Candyland games, the Mouse King's toy sword, or a replica of a Nutcracker, among other prizes."
Dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in this production is Elizabeth Fowle, currently a student at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and who is appearing through the courtesy of the School of the Arts.
Fowle has been a performing member of High Point Ballet since 2004, and was an original member of MooreOnStage/ Taylor Dance. In 2010 she participated in the Winston-Salem Festival Ballet premiere of Concepts Choreography Showcase, and has also been teaching at High Point Ballet and Taylor Dance, as well as at the Festival Dance Center.
Alternating with Fowle in the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy will be Hilary Krott, a member of the faculty of Taylor Dance, who currently performs with Winston-Salem Festival Ballet.
Doubly cast in the role of the Snow Queen are Julianne Gant and Alexis Whitecar.
In addition to being a performing member of Taylor Dance and High Point Ballet, Gant has attended ballet intensives with The Charleston Ballet Theatre and The Nashville Ballet. Whitecar has been a student of Gary Taylor's since an early age and is also a performing member of Taylor Dance and High Point Ballet.
Performing the role of Dew Drop in the production is Rachel Moore, a Pinecrest High School sophomore, who began her dance training at the age of 3 and has performed as a member of Taylor Dance for the past six years. Two of Taylor's younger students are sharing the role of Clara in this production.
Calli McIntyre is a fifth-grader at Episcopal Day School and is in her sixth season with the Taylor Dance Company.
An 11-year-old sixth-grader at New Century Middle School, Tanna Stafford, alternates as Clara. She has performed in eight Moore OnStage productions, including "42nd Street" and "Evita."
"When I look back over the years I danced the role of Clara and then progressed to Snow Queen and Sugar Plum, I realize it has been 50 years of being involved with the 'Nutcracker,' first as a student performer, and then later as a teacher, choreographer and director," says Rita Taylor. "I must admit I get a little weary at the end of the holiday season of the music, but when we start working on a new production, I am always ready to hear the familiar Tchaikovsky score once again. I believe that is the real mark of a great classic."
Tickets are $23 for adults and $15 for students for the evening performances on Nov. 25-26, and for the matinee on Nov. 27.
Special pricing for the 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon matinee on Nov. 26 is $15 general admission for all seats, with a reduced $10 ticket price for all members of the military and their families.
Tickets for the "Land of the Sweets" presentation, which begins at 9 a.m., with a curtain time of 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, are $20 for all seats.
For information and for ticket reservations, call (910) 692-7118. Mastercard, Visa and Discover cards are accepted.
Contact Pinehurst freelance writer Mary Elle Hunter at mehunter1055@ hotmail.com
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