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The dance of tradition and splendor

A luminous treat for children of all ages is about to — be unveiled during this holiday season.

Ballet Rogue, in its 18th year, will once again perform — "The Nutcracker" at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater in Medford's Performing — Arts Center. Ever popular, this production has, over the years, become — a traditional holiday event not to be missed.

"The Nutcracker" is a story about change. Clara Silverhaus, — the heroine, is a girl poised on the edge of womanhood. She is embraced — by a loving and privileged family, and her life is a happy one.

On Christmas Eve her godfather, Dr. Drosselmeyer, arrives — at the family home bring gifts, one of which is a Nutcracker doll for — Clara. During a Christmas Eve dream, Clara watches as her familiar surroundings — change. At first the Christmas tree grows huge and evil rats appear. A — fierce battle follows. Finally, Clara's home disappears and Clara's journey — begins off to a strange, though beautiful land. The Nutcracker becomes — Clara's prince and dreams of sugarplum fairies fill her sleep as the story — is revealed.

"The Nutcracker" is based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffman — and was first performed at the Maryinsky Theater, St. Petersburg, Russia, — on Dec. 17, 1892. The classical music was originally composed by Peter — I. Tchaikovsky and choreographed by Marius Petipa. This year's production — by the Ballet Rogue, which was originally staged by Eric Hyrst, faithfully — follows the original concept of Petipa, which allows restaging. It also — continues the tradition of Nicholas Sergeyev who was responsible for mounting — Nutcracker for Sadlers Wells Ballet Company in London (now known as the — Royal Ballet) on Jan. 30, 1934.

Diane Gaumond Hyrst's version of the Nutcracker premiered — at the Craterian Ginger Roger's Theater in 1998.

This year's Nutcracker will demand a very large cast of — dancers, as well as elaborate scenery, and multiple props. The lighting — production is custom-made by Robert Peterson of Oregon Stage and Lighting — Production.

There will be more than 50 cast members, adults and children, — and this year's professional guest is Brett Mills as the Sugar Plum Fairy. — He comes to Ballet Rogue from the Eugene Ballet where he danced for 11 — years. Kristen Bacon, formerly of the Huston Ballet, will return as the — Snow Queen and Zach Carrol, formerly with Ballet West, joins the company — once again to dance with her as the Queen's Snow Prince. Dr. Drosselmeyer — will be danced again by Lane Hunter.

Joining the Junior Company will be Emily Bowes, from Kansas — City Ballet. Partnering this year with the Jr. Company's ballerinas in — the snow scenes will be Lake North, Brandon Mouse-Peden, Eric Hines and — Trevor Peden.

Several of the featured dancers in the second act are — new. Company members in new roles are Sarah Avery in Spanish, Kayla Garrett — in Arabian, Kendra Cole in Chinese, Karlie Bach as the Columbine Doll, — and Laura Eledge as Clara.

The Nutcracker is a timeless production performed across — the country by ballet companies large and small. It is in the same category — as "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty."

Hyrst, Ballet Rogue's artistic director and production — designer, stated, "There is no doubt in my mind that this year's production — will be truly magical and will thrill and delight everyone in the audience."