A Christmas favorite: Tupelo Ballet to transport audiences to different world

TUPELO – It’s no simple thing to bring a fantasy world to life, but that’s what the Tupelo Ballet will do on Saturday.
The 2010 production of “The Nutcracker” at the Tupelo High School Performing Arts Center will bring toys and fairies to life. A Mouse King will draw his sword at Christmas, and angels will fill the Land of the Sweets.
The sumptuous costumes and decorative sets will help make the transition from the real world to the world depicted in Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet.
“Of course, we’re going to have live music by Tupelo Symphony Orchestra for both shows,” said Sharon Long, Tupelo Ballet’s artistic director, “and we always add fresh choreography every year.“
The show requires the combined effort of more than 100 people who work on- and off-stage.
“It takes a lot of people, a lot of work,” Long said.
Hannah Hudson, who’s playing the Snow Queen, will perform with guest artist Anthony Neumann, who lives out of town.
“We’ve only practiced together two weekends. We’d do it for two hours, take a break, then do it again,” Hannah said. “We work all weekend, and when he comes back, we do it again.”
Stephanie Bryson is the Russian soloist, so it’s her job to deliver flair from Tchaikovsky’s home country. She’s been working on her parts for about two months, but she doesn’t mind the effort.
“I’ve been in ‘The Nutcracker’ for 12 years. I’m a senior so this is my last year,” she said. “I’m going to be happy and sad.”

During the performances, audience members aren’t supposed to see the work that goes into the ballet. You’re supposed to be transported, as if by magic.
Madeline Alvis, the Spanish soloist, said each dancer must make a mental commitment, as well as a physical one, for the trip to fantasy land to succeed.
“It’s all about getting into the right mindset,” she said, “and having an attitude while you’re doing it.”
If you’d like to leave this world behind and take a quick trip to a magical place, the Tupelo Ballet team have your ticket ready.
“If you’ve seen it before, it will have stuff in it that you already like,” Alvis said, “but there’s new stuff in it to make it a little bit different. If you’ve seen it 100 times, you can still have a great time.”

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

M. SCOTT MORRIS / NEMS Daily Journal

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