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Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet Presents 27th Annual Production of The Nutcracker
The Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet, under the artistic direction of Jennifer Beasley, presents its annual production of The Nutcracker on December 14-15 at Jackson Academy Performing Arts Center on Ridgewood Road in Jackson. The holiday classic, the first production of the ballet company’s 27th season, features more than 140 local dancers and internationally-known guest artists.
The Nutcracker is based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” Marius Petitpa’s ballet choreographed to Peter Tchaikovsky’s score was first presented on December 17, 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Over 125 years later, audiences across the world enjoy unique versions of the grand ballet.
Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet’s version opens as Clara’s family hosts a Christmas party where she receives a special gift, a nutcracker, from the curious Herr Drosselmeyer. After the excitement of the party, dancing dolls and a boisterous battle, Clara’s nutcracker becomes a handsome prince. Together they travel through the beautiful Land of Snow to the wondrous Kingdom of Sweets. There Clara and the Prince meet the Sugarplum Fairy and other characters who perform thrilling dances for them. Audiences are sure to enjoy the leaping Russian, the twirling Mirlitons, the enchanting Arabian and the comical Mother Ginger with her skirt full of Polichinelles.
Dancing the lead role of Clara is Rebecca Trowbridge. Trowbridge is an eighth grader at Madison Middle School who will celebrate her 14th birthday on The Nutcracker stage. She studied ballet at Louisiana Delta Ballet in Monroe prior to joining Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet three years ago.
The Snow Queen will be danced by Abby McCaughan, a senior at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. A Madison-Ridgeland Academy senior, Mae Correro will appear as the Dew Drop Fairy. Both McCaughan and Correro are principal dancers with Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet.
Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet’s own Adam Maatallah, a senior company member and ninth-grader at Rosa Scott High School, will bring the Nutcracker Prince to life. Adam first appeared in The Nutcracker in 2012 as Clara’s pesky younger brother, Fritz.
Crystal Skelton, artistic associate with Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet and former professional dancer with Cincinnati Ballet, will dance the role of Mrs. Stahlbaum, Clara’s mother. Perennial audience favorite, Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet faculty member and former Cincinnati Ballet professional dancer Erik Kegler will return to the stage as Herr Drosselmeyer and Mother Ginger.
Guest artists Adiarys Almeida and Taras Domitro will dance the roles of The Sugarplum Fairy and Her Cavalier. Both dancers are former members of The National Ballet of Cuba who have since gone on to dance as principal dancers with prestigious ballet companies including San Francisco Ballet, The Boston Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and Orlando Ballet. Almeida was a finalist in the 2006 USA International Ballet Competition. She and Domitro currently perform together at international ballet galas and as guest artists with companies the world over.
The cast is directed by former professional dancer Jennifer Beasley. As Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet’s artistic director, Beasley has grown the ballet company from approximately 30 dancers to nearly 100, all of whom appear in The Nutcracker. An additional 45 non-company dancers from Mississippi Metropolitan Dance Academy, the official school of Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet, won roles through audition.
“Sharing the magic of dance with our community is our passion,” says Beasley. “Through preparing for and performing in The Nutcracker, young dancers experience the joy of making art for the community. They learn the value of discipline and working with others toward a common goal: a performance of the highest artistic quality to be enjoyed by our audience.”
There will be one evening performance of the ballet at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 14. Matinee performances are scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 14 and Sunday, December 15. Each matinee is followed by a “Nutcracker Sweet” Tea Party at 4:00 p.m.
Tea party guests enjoy a whimsical candy buffet featuring desserts from Nothing Bundt Cakes, a savory buffet from Chicken Salad Chick and The Gathering at Livingston Mercantile, festive decorations, photo opportunities with characters from the ballet and a very special visit from Santa.
Tea Party seating is reserved. Tickets for the Tea Party must be purchased in advance, and are sold separately from performance tickets. Performance tickets are available for $20 or $25. Tickets for the Tea Party are $25. Tickets can be purchased online at www.msmetroballet.com or by calling 601-853-4508.
Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet is generously sponsored in the 2019-2020 season by The Mississippi Arts Commission, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Gertrude C. Ford Foundation, Ergon, BankPlus, Harper, Rains, Knight & Co, Eventful, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, Waxing the City and Internal Medicine and Pediatric Associates. A non-profit, pre-professional ballet company based in Madison, Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet is the only ballet company in Mississippi adjudicated into membership of the prestigious Southeastern Regional Ballet Association.