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San Marcos High School ~ Santa Barbara, CA

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State Street Ballet’s The Nutcracker

December is finally here and that calls for some holiday magic. Look no further than seeing State Street Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Granada Theater. From the elegant snowflakes and the lively Russian dancers, to the fierce rat queen and the beautiful waltzing flowers, The Nutcracker is an incredible show with so much to offer. There are three performances happening at The Granada Theater this December; one is on Saturday, December 16th at 3pm, another on that same day at 7:30pm, and the final one on Sunday, December 17th at 3pm. 

Many students at SM are involved in The Nutcracker. State Street Ballet Academy, the dance school associated with the State Street Ballet professional company, is also a part of the show. There are various parts that are reserved for Academy students, such as princesses, mice, flowers, party girls, party boys, and of course, Clara. Although the role of Clara is not being played by students at our school, there are other roles that students are very excited to perform. 

State Street Ballet showcases their annual performance of The Nutcracker. (Chloe Nydam)

“My role this year is as a flower in the Waltz of the Flowers. Something I like about the role is the music. I have always wanted to be in the waltz when I would hear the music, and I’m excited to finally be in it this year,” said junior Evelyn Tano. 

The Waltz of the Flowers is a graceful dance towards the end of the second act of The Nutcracker. It features Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, male dancers in fancy tuxedos, and female dancers in beautiful costumes that resemble blossoming flowers. Although academy dancers get to dance as flowers, most of the dancers in the Waltz are professionals, which makes the rehearsal process often difficult and long. The professional company dancers are adults and have danced for longer than the academy dancers, and they have much more experience, so it has taken a while to put both professional and academy dancers together in the Waltz. 

“I would say that the most challenging part of my role is being able to match the professional dancers in the company that we have to dance with, sometimes it’s hard to be on the same timing with them or be in the right spacing,” said Tano. 

Many students training at State Street Ballet Academy are seniors in high school, so they are performing in the final nutcracker as an academy student this year. 

“My favorite thing about being in the Nutcracker would have to be the tradition of it,” said senior Lauren Wilk, who is a princess in The Nutcracker this year. “After yearly performing in The Nutcracker from a young age, it has always held a special place in my heart. Not only does it represent Christmas, but it also reminds me of the many hours we have put into the show that were full of laughter and exhaustion. Most memorable are the moments backstage in the dressing rooms, putting on our makeup or watching in awe of the professionals from the wings.”

A majority of the professional dancers in State Street Ballet have been in the company for years, but there are many new dancers that joined the company this year. Each year, the casting is different, especially this year, so it is interesting to see what new dancers bring to the stage as well as the returning dancers. 

State Street Ballet also takes The Nutcracker on tour to various cities and states, coming back just in time for the Santa Barbara performances. All of the dancers in the company are magnificently talented and each have unique ways of expressing their passion for dance. This is why audience members come back year after year to see them perform in The Nutcracker. 

With stunning accompaniment by the Opera San Luis Obispo Grand Orchestra, with brilliant conductor Brian Asher Alhadeff, fantastic sets, dazzling costumes, amazing dancers, and a heartwarming story, The Nutcracker is a classic holiday show that you will not want to miss. Tickets are still available on the Granada Theater website, but they are selling out quickly, so purchase them as soon as possible and treat yourself to a night or afternoon of Christmas magic!

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Chloe Nydam, Staff Writer
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