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“The Nutcracker” at Clowes Hall, Dec. 1-4

"The Nutcracker" by Butler Ballet at Clowes Hall.

"The Nutcracker" by Butler Ballet at Clowes Hall. Photo provided by Butler University and used with written permission.

By Marc Allan
Butler University

Magic is about to happen again at the country estate of Counselor and Frau Von Stahlbaum, as Butler Ballet presents five performances of The Nutcracker, Dec. 1-4, 2011 at Clowes Memorial Hall, 4602 Sunset Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1; 8 p.m. Dec. 2; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 3; and 2 p.m. Dec. 4. Tickets are $21.50-$28.50 for adults; $17-$23 for children, students and seniors; $14-$20 for groups of 15 or more. Tickets are available at the Clowes Hall box office or through Ticketmaster. For telephone orders, call 800-982-2787.

This year’s performances are dedicated to Nate Byrd, a longtime stagehand at Clowes Hall and elsewhere, who died when the Indiana State Fair stage collapsed Aug. 13.

“He was a great friend of Butler Ballet,” said Larry Attaway, chair of Butler’s Dance Department.

Butler Ballet’s 29th annual performance of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet will feature several new wrinkles. Karl Watson, a senior from Novelty, Ohio, will dance the role of Drosselmeyer, a part usually performed by a member of the faculty, an alumnus or faculty emeritus.

“Karl has the maturity and acting capability along with the dancing ability to take on the role and do it well,” Attaway said. “It’s a great challenge, and he’s doing an excellent job. We’re happy with what’s happened.”

In addition, there is new or revised choreography for many of the scenes in the second act, including the Angel choreography in the Entrance into the Kingdom of Sweets, Chinese Dance, Arabian Dance and Dance of the Mirlitons (all by Associate Professor of Dance Derek Reid), and the Russian Dance and Mother Ginger and the Polichinelles (by visiting professor Michael Johnson). The Mother Ginger scene features some of the 27 young dancers from the community who are participating in this year’s Nutcracker.

“There is a lot in Act 2 that people won’t have seen for some time,” Attaway said, “and a lot people will have never seen.”

This year’s Nutcracker will feature the Butler Ballet Orchestra and members of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir performing the score. Mai Uesaka, a senior from West Bloomfield, Mich., and Lindsay Moncrieff, a senior from Acton, Mass., share the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Garrett Glassman (senior, Gurnee, Ill.) and Sean Sessions (senior, Columbia, Md.) will dance as the Nutcracker.

Stuart Coleman (sophomore, Lynchburg, Va.) and Matthew Doolin (junior, Jacksonville, Fla.) will play the Snow King. Alexandra FitzGibbon (senior, Fresno, CA) and Olivia Yoch (senior, Richmond, Va.) will be the Snow Queen. The Dew Drop Fairy will be danced by Rebecca Deitrich (senior, Lexington, Ky.) and Morgan Sicklick (junior, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.), and Samuel Rogers (sophomore, Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Justin Metcalf- Burton (Gaithersburg, Md.) will play the Cavalier.

Hailley Goleta (junior, Oxnard, Ca.) will dance the role of Clara.

As always, all Butler Dance faculty have a hand in the choreography, including Cynthia Pratt, Marek Cholewa, Stephan Laurent, Susan McGuire and Associate Dean of the Jordan College of Fine Arts Michelle Jarvis.

Attaway also suggested that the audience take a long look at the costumes this year. Costumer Kathleen Egan has done a masterful job, he said.

“There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 135 costumes that have to be fixed, fit, redesigned in some instances,” he said. “It’s an incredible task. The amazing thing is, one person does this job. It’s an impossible job that she does very, very well.”

For more information, visit http://www.cloweshall.org/, or call 317-940-6444.

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