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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

Bristol Ballet presents "The Nutcracker'

Bristol Ballet performs
Bristol Ballet performs "The Nutcracker."

November 29, 2017

Nutcracker and Rat Queen battle for control; the Sugarplum Fairy welcomes you to the land of sweets; and Clara dances into your heart at Bristol Ballet's presentation of "The Nutcracker." Join Bristol Ballet for evening and matinee performances of The Nutcracker Dec. 8 and 9 at the Paramount Center for the Arts, in historic downtown Bristol.

As Bristol Ballet is in the midst of celebrating their 70th season, the traditional "The Nutcracker" performance gets a fresh perspective from Interim Artistic Director, Janelle Tatum Eggleston. While current artistic director, Michele Plescia, is out on medical leave, Eggleston is stepping back into the studio, having served as artistic director in the late 1990s. She brings back a few beloved characters from her previous tenure, such as a Governess turned into a Rat Queen, an eccentric and mysterious Drosselmeyer and whimsical fairies weaving spells throughout.

"It has been such a pleasure to return to the Bristol Ballet studios," Eggleston says. "I am excited and honored to collaborate on choreography with Ms. Plescia and work with our company dancers, community members and guest artists. Though things have certainly changed in the 17 years I have been away, one thing has remained constant: the joy and enchantment "The Nutcracker' brings to audiences. Come join us for a magical time."

Professional dancer Jace Coranodo joins the cast as the Nutcracker Cavalier, while Kingsport native Erin Ginn reprises her role of the Sugarplum Fairy. Lydia Haug and J. Ryan Carroll dance the roles of Snow Queen and Cavalier as well as Arabian Dance. Rounding out the cast are junior company member Sydney Smith as Clara, Coach Mike Locke as Drosselmeyer, more than 50 Bristol Ballet dancers and many community members. Additionally, returning alumnae Linda Bass performs as the Governess and Amanda Hairston dances the Spanish divertissement in second act.

Hairston says, "Almost two decades have passed, but I can still remember the wonderment I felt when I performed as Clara under Ms. Eggleston's artistic direction of Bristol Ballet in 1999. While it has been some time, the choreography, the zest and her energy have taken me back to a very special time. Between the two wonderful combined artistic minds of Janelle and Michele, this will be a performance you will not want to miss."

Bristol Ballet hosts a free school performance of "The Nutcracker." This year, more than 700 students from Tennessee and Virginia will be in attendance. "We are so pleased to be able to provide a beautiful, classical ballet experience to school age children," says Karen Tillison, Bristol Ballet board member. "So many children have not had the opportunity to see a performance or even go to the Paramount Center for the Arts. My hope is that children will be inspired by the performance and become life-long supporters and patrons of the arts."

Topics: Dance, Theatre