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Local ballet company takes on ‘The Nutcracker’

By Aleeza Zinn

Alameda Civic Ballet’s tenth annual “Nutcracker Ballet” premieres on Dec. 20 of this year. The classic tale of the Nutcracker is brought to life by choreographer and artistic director Abra Rudisill and performed by the students of Alameda Civic Ballet.

The Nutcracker’s first United States performance was in 1944 and was danced by the San Francisco Ballet. The Alameda Civic Ballet joined the Nutcracker tradition with their first performance in December of 2005, in the historic Kofman Theater.

The plot of the Nutcracker revolves around Clara Stahlbaum, a coming-of-age German girl, and the adventures she has after she falls asleep at her parents’ Christmas party. Clara is given a Nutcracker doll as one of her christmas presents. Once Clara is asleep, the Nutcracker comes to life to show her the Land of Snow and Sweets.

This year Clara is played by sophomores Talia Soglin and Tiffany Chen. “I have been dancing ballet for seven years. This is my sixth year in the Nutcracker,” said Chen.

Soglin has been dancing since she “was about four or five, so about ten years,” said Soglin. As for the Nutcracker, Soglin said “this is my eleventh year.”

Rehearsals started Oct. 5 and auditions were held a short time prior. “Rehearsals are going well, but they really rush by and I never feel completely prepared until a few days before the show, when it somehow all pulls together,” said Chen.

Professional dancers are hired for a few roles in the Nutcracker, such as the Snow King and Queen and the Sugarplum Fairy. “You get to work with them and be in rehearsals with them, and you can learn a lot by watching them,” said Soglin.

The curtain pulls up at 2 p.m. on Dec. 20 and 21 for the performance, with the eager cast ready to perform.

“Performing is really fun and amazing, and it’s an experience you don’t get a lot,” said Soglin.

“My favorite part of being in the Nutcracker is the whole theater experience, especially the onstage moments with the lights and costumes, but also being backstage with friends,” said Chen.

While both ballerinas enjoy their all year ballet lessons, Chen said “I definitely prefer Nutcracker to regular classes.”

“I like the Nutcracker because it’s a huge production,” agreed Soglin.

Tickets are available here: http://www.alamedacivicballet.org/

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