Valley Performing Arts Council
A scene from last year’s production of “The Nutcracker,” which will return to the William Saroyan Theatre in Fresno on Nov. 25-26.
The Valley Performing Arts Council will bring to life a more than 125-year magical holiday tradition when it presents “The Nutcracker” at two performances Thanksgiving weekend. The ballet will be performed Nov. 25 and 26 at 1 p.m. at William Saroyan Theatre in Fresno.
This year’s performance features 37 professional dancers from Sacramento Ballet, along with over 100 student dancers who hail from more than a dozen Valley cities as well as dancers from Fresno Ballet Theatre.
The city of Madera will be well represented in the performance thanks to participation from local dancer Mariah Olsen.
“This ballet is often people’s first introduction to live ballet, and is a longstanding tradition for many families. Not only is it audience friendly, ‘The Nutcracker’ is very unusual in that it includes so many children throughout the performance,” explained Yukari Thiesen, artistic director. “I can’t think of another classical ballet that uses children this much, and in that way it’s very special.”
“The Nutcracker” premiered in 1892 and is based on “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice,” by E.T.A. Hoffman. The two-act ballet tells the story of a young German girl, Clara, who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King when she falls asleep following a lively family Christmas party.
“For children, who are coming to see ‘The Nutcracker’ or are performing in it, it’s magical and they never get tired of it,” Thiesen described. “The spirit of this special ballet touches children and represents the full experience of the arts. For the performers, it’s gathering to rehearse and the on-stage and backstage experience. They become very close to each other. For the children in the audience, it represents the whole performing arts experience, from dressing up to attend to what’s happening in the lobby and the performance itself.”
Ticket prices range from $31.50 to $71.50 for adults. There’s a special offer on tickets for children 12 and under for $16.50 throughout the theater — valid through Nov. 19. Ticketholders can participate in Sugar Plum Story Time and visit the Kingdom of Sweet Café and The Nutcracker Boutique starting at noon prior to both performances. The Nutcracker Tea will be 2:45 p.m. Nov. 25. Tickets are $25.
For information, visit ValleyPerformingArtsCouncil.org or Ticketmaster.com.