By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
It’s only fitting that Tupelo Ballet’s 30th annual production of “The Nutcracker” has the biggest cast, the newest props, more guest artists the most sparkly costumes.
“We’re having a prop re-do – a new sleigh, throne, trees – so we’re spicing up some things,” said Tupelo Ballet director Sharon Long. “We have an extra guest artist from the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and two from Ballet West. And this is the biggest cast we’ve ever had.”
Tupelo Ballet celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, and this is the company’s 30th production of the holiday classic.
“The Nutcracker” is a holiday tradition worldwide, and thanks to Tupelo Ballet, it’s now a tradition for Tupelo.
“It’s the beginning of the holiday season,” Long said. “It’s a really special time in the community. It’s become a community tradition we’re really proud of.”
The Tupelo Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” also includes its boutique and bake sale.
“The Nutcracker” tells the story of a young girl, Clara – played by best friends Mia Katherine Todd in the evening performance and Sara Frances Wolfe in the matinee – who receives a magical nutcracker for Christmas. Clara is transported to the Kingdom of Sweets and the Land of Snow, where she meets mice, angels and the Snow Queen.
For senior dancers Cassidy Pitts, Mathis Owen, Ericka Sherrill and Megan Rakestraw, this year’s performance is bittersweet.
“My Christmas season doesn’t start until ‘Nutcracker,’” Owen said. “We look forward to it so much.”
But as seniors, this is the dancers’ last show.
“We feel like these girls who are coming up, we’re their role models,” Pitts said. “We have to set a good example.”
Dim The Lights
WHAT: “The Nutcracker,” presented by Tupelo Ballet
WHEN: 2 p.m. (general admission) and 7:30 p.m. (reserved seating) Dec. 1
WHERE: Tupelo High School Performing Arts Center
COST: $30/adults, $15/students, $20/senior citizens
INFO: (662) 844-1928, tupeloballet.com