Sugar-plum fantasies will swirl onstage as two Chattanooga ballet companies present separate productions of "The Nutcracker" this weekend. A third, Ballet Tennessee, will follow next weekend.
* Chattanooga Ballet: This 26th anniversary presentation of Tchaikovsky's classic is a joint production with the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera orchestra.
Performances will be held at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13-14, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.
First presented in 1988 with a cast of 60 dancers, the production has grown to include a cast of over 220 performers.
"The production continues to grow in size, scope and artistic quality" said Bob Willie, general director of Chattanooga Ballet. "To keep the production fresh and exciting, we continue to upgrade the choreography and costumes and enhance the production with nationally acclaimed guest artists."
Dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy will be professional company member Kirsten Hyde partnered by guest artist Diamond Lagrave of Pas de Vie Ballet in Tallahassee, Fla. The principal role of the Snow Queen will be danced by professional company members Hope Smisson and Era Terry, partnered by guest artist Dillon Davis.
Davis, a Chattanooga native, graduated from the Center for Creative Arts and trained at Chattanooga Ballet.
First-year professional company member Claire Carlisle Young will dance the role of the Rose Queen and Columbine. Marisa Montany, formerly of the Dance Theatre of Tennessee, will dance Arabian, partnered by Dillon Davis.The role of Clara will be shared by Ann Parker and Sierra Mansfield. Avery Tisdale and Martin McKenzie will perform the role of the Nutcracker Prince.
Tickets are available at the Tivoli Theatre box office at 423-642-TIXS or online at www.chattanooga onstage.com. They are priced at $19 and $15 with discounts for children, students and seniors.
* Civic Ballet of Chattanooga/Massari-Wood Dance Center: A Christmas party, a puppet show, life-size mechanical dolls, a mysterious favorite uncle, a hilarious mouse king, dancing snowflakes, a handsome nutcracker prince - these all bring Clara into her wonderful, magical dream adventure in "The Nutcracker," set to Tchaikovsky's sweeping score.
The Civic Ballet of Chattanooga is a nonprofit organization based at the Massari-Wood Dance Center in East Brainerd. The two companies will present their 31st "Nutcracker" performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, in the UTC Fine Arts Center, 752 Vine St.
Admission is $15, and all seats are reserved. Call the box office at 423-425-4269.