The Nutcracker has become a staple Christmas tradition, but the Cirque D’Art Theatre aims to re-create this classic and bring it to the stage in a new light.
Le Nutcracker Cirque tells the tale of Clara and the Nutcracker with all the beauty and grace of ballet but adds new elements like aerial routines and circus as well.
Le Nutcracker Cirque is based off the E.T.A Hoffman’s story, “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice” written in 1816. Although what is seen on the stage today is different in detail from the original story, the basic plot remains the same. The story tells the tale of a young girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King.
With a diverse cast of over 250 students from ages 3-35, the show offers something for all ages.
“We do this performance annually but there’s always something new and different about each performance,” said Cirque D’Art Director, Pegi Wilkes. “We change costumes often and we change lead roles. We have so many students involved in the program and we want as many as we can to be Clara and the Nutcracker so all our cast for leads are new this year to those roles.”
This year, Molly Grashel will take the stage as Clara and Trevor Long will perform as the Nutcracker. Both Grashel and Long are enthusiastic about their roles and look forward to opening night.
Grashel is 16 and has been involved with the theatre for five years, this is the first time she has performed as Clara.
Long is 17 and like Grashel, has also been involved with the theatre for five years.
“I’m a little nervous, it’s been challenging because some of the routines are new,” said Grashel.
According to Wilkes, it’s been different from what she’s used to due to the Adagio routines and working with a partner (Long) that she has to trust completely.
But the two say that they have a strong partnership and they’re happy to be working together as Clara and the Nutcracker.
Wilkes says that the program is unique in that they do not import other talent to perform alongside her students.
“This is all done locally. We don’t import dancers for the lead roles, those are for our kids. They get to do that. We feel like that they work hard and they truly have the talent to perform those roles on their own,” said Wilkes.
The performance will be held at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Shawnee State University, 940 Second Street in Portsmouth. Showtimes are Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 per adult, and $10 for youth and students. Tickets can be purchased at the McKinley Box Office by calling 740-351-3600 or one hour prior to showtime.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.