LAKE?PLACID?- In this its 27th season, the North Country Ballet Ensemble's "Nutcracker" will surprise audiences with new directions. The Lake Placid Center for the Arts welcomes the return of this Holiday Family Classic at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 and at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2.
Alice Schonbek, recently appointed as artistic director, has commissioned a makeover of many aspects of the show. New choreography for Act 1 makes for a different party scene as well as a new battle scene. This is the work of resident choreographer Terpsie Toon, who joins professional guest choreographers Rebecca Kelly and Michela Boschetto on the NCBE creative team.
Toon heads up the staff of the Lake Placid School of Ballet & Dance and danced professionally in New York for more than 20 years. Her wide and varied experience ranges from classical ballet to Broadway.
Also noteworthy this year is the unprecedented extent of community participation, with a cast of 70 local student dancers and 10 community members to entertain audiences.
Joining them will be a number of outstanding out of town professionals. Therese Wendler, a seven-year veteran of the NCBE "Nutcracker" and a principal dancer with Rebecca Kelly Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, and Dances Patrelle, will dance the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy as well as the Queen of the North Winds in the Snow variation.
Mikhail Ilyin, returning to the North Country for a second time will perform in the role of Cavalier. Ilyin, a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, dances for American Ballet Theatre. He received his early training at the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy and danced with Boston Ballet before becoming a soloist with Miami City Ballet in 2001. He was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2003 and moved to ABT in 2008. In Lake Placid, Andres Neira, will return as the Cavalier, partnering Ms Wendler.
Morgan Broderick of Lake Placid will dance the role of Claire, whileHarvey Runyon, also of Lake Placid, will perform as Fritz. We welcome back Jason Borrie as Uncle Drosselmeyer.
The NCBE graduates two seniors this season, Teagan Plimpton of Peru and Gabrielle Patnode of Saranac Lake. Plimpton will dance the roles of North Windin the snow scene, Candy Cane, Chinese, Arabian, and Dew Drop inWaltz of the Flowers. Patnode will perform as an Ice Maiden in the snow scene, Spanish Soloist, Arabian and Dew Drop in Waltz of the Flowers.
Erika Greyson, of the SUNY Plattsburgh Theater Department, will provide new lighting design. Finally, the show's visual appeal will be enhanced by a variety of new set features and props, designed and produced by a number of committed community members.
Ticket prices are $12 children (ages 12 and under); $16 seniors and students, $18 adults.
For reservations or ticket information,call the LPCA at (518) 523-2512 or visit www.LakePlacidArts.org.