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Blue Heron’s ‘Nutcracker’ marks a milestone
By ELIZABETH SHEPHERD
Blue Heron Dance will celebrate a special anniversary this weekend, when eager ballet students leap to the stage of Vashon High School as tiny mice, graceful snowflakes, Chinese acrobats and sugar plum fairies.
It’s the 10th year Blue Heron Dance has performed Tchaikovsky’s classic “Nutcracker Ballet,” and to mark the occasion, Christine Juarez, the company’s artistic director, has rechoreographed the entire work, adding new flourishes to such well-loved dances as the Waltz of the Flowers, the Arabian dance and the battle of the Mouse Queen.
She’s also added a special abbreviated Friday matinee of the ballet, designed to appeal to children ages 3 to 6.
“The children will get exposure to ballet while hearing the story. They will also learn about theater etiquette and meet the dancers,” she explained.
For Juarez, it’s all part of a journey that began a decade ago.
When the company first performed the Nutcracker, it began as a few excerpts.
“As our student body began to grow, I added more scenes,” said Juarez. “Now, we perform the entire ballet.”
This year, principal dancers will include Sally Walker as Clara; Colin Pottinger as Fritz; Julian Lightle as the Nutcracker Prince; Katherine Misel as the Mouse Queen; Camille Kappelman as the Snow Queen; Brent Kehoe as Snow King; Trudy Soriano as the Sugar Plum Fairy; Claire Engelhard as the Arabian Princess and Madeline Morser as the Waltz Queen.
A matinee of “The Nutcracker” will take place at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4. Regular performances are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4 and 5, and 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6. All shows are at the Vashon High School theater. Tickets to the Dec. 4 matinee are $5; all others are $10 and $13 and are on sale at Blue Heron, Books by the Way, Thriftway, Heron’s Nest, www.brownpapertickets.com and by phone at 463-5131.