Chattanooga Now Two local dance companies put different spins on 'The Nutcracker'

Chattanooga Now Two local dance companies put different spins on 'The Nutcracker'

December 12th, 2018 by Staff Report in Chattanooga Now - Art

In a previous Ballet Tennessee performance of "The Nutcracker," the late Barry Van Cura played Herr Drosselmeyer, shown presenting a nutcracker to Reagon Sanborn as Clara. (Ballet Tennessee Photo)

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you go

› Where: UTC Fine Arts Center, 752 Vine St.
› When: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14; 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
› Admission: $22 adults, $20 senior adults and students
› For more information: 423-425-4269

› Where: Walker Theatre inside Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave
› When: 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
› Admission: $18 adults, $17 students, senior adults plus fees
› For more information: 423-757-5580

Chattanoogans have the luxury of choosing from two productions of "The Nutcracker" this weekend — one a classic interpretation of the holiday ballet, the other a contemporary spin.

Written in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffmann, "The Nutcracker" is the story of young Clara, who receives a nutcracker at Christmas. That night, she dreams the nutcracker comes alive and fights an evil Mouse King, after which the nutcracker whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls.

Ballet Tennessee will present the classic ballet in performances on Friday evening, Dec. 14, and Saturday afternoon, Dec. 15, in the UTC Fine Arts Center.

The company will dance choreography created by the late Barry Van Cura, co-founder of Ballet Tennessee with his wife, Anna, who has added some new dances to her husband's body of work.

Ballet Tennessee will be joined by guest artists Brian Gephart in the role of Sugar Plum Cavalier, and Morgan McEwin as the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Company member Madeline Claire Stefaniuk will dance the role of Clara, and Don Markham will play Herr Drosselmeyer.

» Chattanooga Dance Theatre will present its fifth annual "'Nooga Nutcracker," which uses a variety of dance styles and local twists to set the ballet in present-day Chattanooga. Professionals along with student dancers will perform ballet, modern, jazz and acro dance styles.

In "'Nooga Nutcracker," when Clara goes to sleep, she is wakened by a sassy Mouse Queen and her mouse posse. Luckily, Clara's Moc dolls and new nutcracker come alive and help tie up and take away the Mouse Queen.

After the battle, the nutcracker turns into a prince and takes Clara around Chattanooga. The second act of the performance includes highlights of Chattanooga: the Tennessee River, North Shore carousel, Tennessee Aquarium fish, Southern belles and Lookout Mountain gnomes.

The final dance of the evening maintains the "Nutcracker" tradition of a Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier dancing the grand pas de deux.

New this year, Chattanooga Dance Theatre has added roles such as "Mother Mountain" (traditionally Mother Ginger), who dances on stilts, and a Tennessee River variation to the traditional Arabian dance.