Tupelo Ballet presents its 31st annual ‘The Nutcracker’

Adam Robison | Buy at photos.djournal.com From left, Amber Claire Huddleston, Allysa Brohawn, Zoe Windham, Anna Ballard and Alivia Roberts start in Tupelo Ballet's "The Nutcracker."

Adam Robison | Buy at photos.djournal.com
From left, Amber Claire Huddleston, Allysa Brohawn, Zoe Windham, Anna Ballard and Alivia Roberts start in Tupelo Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.”

By Sheena Barnett

Daily Journal

TUPELO – It’s not Christmas without “The Nutcracker.”

This will be Tupelo Ballet’s 31st year to present the time-honored ballet, and for the dancers, preparing for the show heralds the holiday.

“It’s not Christmas until ‘The Nutcracker,’” said Zoe Windham.

Her fellow dancer Alivia Roberts agreed.

“It’s officially Christmas now,” Roberts said.

Both dancers are seniors, so this is their last “Nutcracker.”

“Right now it’s exciting, but come the day of the show, we’ll all be squalling,” Roberts said.

Early in their “Nutcracker” careers are Alyssa Brohawn and Katie Cook Riley, both 11, who star as Clara. Riley stars as Clara at the matinee performance and Brohawn will star in the evening performance.

“We’ve had a lot of practice,” Brohawn said. “I think I like the dance at the party scene the best.”

Both girls said they have both nervous and excited butterflies.

“I’m half and half,” Riley said, “but I think I’m a little more excited.”

Fans who’ve seen Tupelo Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” will see a few surprises.

It’s the biggest cast, with 140 dancers.

Irlan Silva and Seo Hye Han of the Boston Ballet will perform with the Tupelo Ballet in “The Nutcracker.”

“It’s new, new, new,” said director Sharon Long. “There’s a new tree, new costumes. Every year we try to update sets, choreography, costumes.”

sheena.barnett@journalinc.com