'The Nutcracker'

The Antelope Valley Ballet will present the 22nd annual production of “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 14 and 15 at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center.

A limited number of tickets remain for the Antelope Valley Ballet’s 22nd annual production of “The Nutcracker” at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center this weekend.

The ballet will be on the main stage at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 14 and 7 p.m. Dec. 15.

“The Nutcracker’s” libretto is based on a 19th century story by Prussian author E.T.A. Hoffman. The ballet score is one of Russian composer Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky’s most famous pieces.

The two-act ballet premiered in 1892 with original choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. The story follows Clara, a young girl who receives a toy soldier nutcracker from her godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer, as a gift on Christmas Eve.

But Clara’s jealous younger brother Fritz breaks the prized gift, setting in motion a magical chain of events. Clara then dreams of a Nutcracker prince and a battle against the Mouse King, which culminates with the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”

“The choreography is kind of the same this year,” Kathleen Burnett, AV Ballet company’s artistic director, said. “There’s not a lot of changes, but we have brand new mouse costumes,”  

The ballet company also has a new backdrop for Act II.

“This year, we have a new dancer dancing with our company who was trained with a very famous company in Russia,” Burnett said. “She now lives in Lancaster.”

The dancer, Anna Hronchak, will perform the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Sama’J Williams will dance the role of the Nutcracker Prince. He previously danced as a Bon Bon in the ballet.

“Dance has always been around me,” he said. “I’ve grown up  being the performer of my family. I’ve been through a lot of stuff in my life and dance has just been my therapy.”

Dancer Chloe Busbee will also dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

She first started dancing in the AV Ballet production of “The Nutcracker” in 2010.

“I love how it’s super hard to get everything perfect and this is always a work in progress,” she said.

Dancer Cara Marguerite will dance the role the of Chinese Tea.

“This is actually my 12th Nutcracker with AVB, I’ve played a lot of roles,” she said.

Marguerite will also do the Arabian Dance and the Sugar Plum Fairy this year. She previously performed as the Snow Queen, Arabian Coffee and Clara.

“I just love the holiday cheer,” she said. “It brings a nice, warm feeling to all the dancers. It’s a tradition.”

MaKenna Hertz will dance the role of Arabian Coffee. This will be her seventh production of “The Nutcracker.”

“Dancing just makes me feel free, I guess,” she said.

Dancer Mia Kei will dance the Ribbon Dancer. This will be her 12th AV Ballet production of “The Nutcracker.”

“I enjoy striving to be better every year and expanding on my artistry,” she said.

Tickets cost $30 for orchestra and $25 for balcony. For details, visit www.lpac.org, call 661-723-5950, or visit the LPAC box office at 750 West Lancaster Blvd.

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