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'The Nutcracker'

Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker," the classic ballet treatment of the Hoffmann tale of a magical Christmas night, has become as much a part of the holidays as mistletoe and holly. Here in the Rogue Valley, we have two full-length productions to enjoy.

When Act I opens, Clara's family is holding a Christmas Eve party. One of the guests is her beloved Herr Drosselmeyer who has brought her a special present, a wooden nutcracker.

During the course of the evening and into the early morning hours, the Nutcracker comes to life and turns into a prince.

The prince fights off an army of mice and leads Clara to a land of wonders before they return home.

Stillpoint Dance Studio will present five performances of its 16th annual "Nutcracker Ballet." Performance dates are 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 and 15: and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, Saturday Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Grants Pass High School Performing Arts Center, 830 N.E. Ninth St., Grants Pass.

The Stillpoint creative team, led by Penny King, includes Sylvia Bolton, Jocelyn Vodovoz, Elethea Kesarah, Bonnie Mc Kelligott, and Ruth King. The team has been working since the beginning of September with over 80 local Rogue Valley cast members ranging from pre-ballet level to pre-professional. The role of Clara, performed by Sarah Maler and Summer Ashley, and the role of Fritz, performed by Kjell Thorsen and Vincenzo Cangilose are double cast this year.

Nedd Wyant dances the role of Herr Drosselmeyer, with Brandon Cox as the Prince, Amanda Jordan and Derek Rau as Queen and King Mouse, and Audrey Smith and Brent Kehoe in the roles of Snow Queen and King.

During Act II we meet dual Mother Gingers played by Flora Albano and Scott Sundin, the Sugar Plum Fairy by Jenna Swanberg, Spanish dancers by Myray Reames and Amanda Jordan, Arabian dancer by Loriana Siegel and Russian dancers by Lindsey Andres-Beck, Christopher Highbarger and Brent Kehoe.

All tickets are reserved. Tickets cost $18, $15 and $12. See www.gpnutcracker.org or call 476-4641.

Ballet Rogue's "Nutcracker," under the direction of Artistic Director Diane Gaumond Hyrst, has been a Rogue Valley tradition since 1989. This year's four performances featuring local and professional dancers will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23, at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, 23 S. Central, Medford.

Ballet Rogue's "Nutcracker" is danced by a cast of 45. This year's professional dancers include Zach Carroll, a former soloist from Ballet West; Michelle Davis, formerly of the Royal Danish Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet; Kristi Bacon from the Houston Ballet; and Lane Hunter and Edward Badua both with Body vox. The remainder of the cast members come from the Rogue Valley, many of whom have trained with Hyrst.

Friday night's performance is Family Night and tickets for all seats are $16.50. Tickets for the Dec. 22-23 performances are $20.50, $24.50 and $26.50.

The Fifth annual Children's Sugarplum Teas will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22 and Sunday, Dec. 23. The teas provide an opportunity for children of all ages to meet some of the Nutcracker dancers, including the Sugar Plum Fairy. Visitors may enjoy tea and light refreshments, hear the Nutcracker story read aloud and have their pictures taken with one of the dancers. Tickets for the Children's Sugarplum Teas are $18 for adults and $12 for children.

Tickets for Ballet Rogue's performances and the Sugarplum Teas are available at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater box office, on line at www.craterian.org or by calling 779-3000.

More than 80 local cast members ranging from pre-ballet to pre-professional levels of dance skills fill the Stillpoint Dance Studio’s team.