Intercity Ballet of Kingsport will feature a cast of more than 140 dancers and actors in its 34th annual production of “The Nutcracker” this weekend.
School performances are scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Thursday and Friday, Dec. 12 and 13, with public performances at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13 and 14. All performances are at Eastman’s Toy F. Reid Employee Center in Kingsport.
Dancers from all over the area audition for Intercity’s “Nutcracker” production, which features an indoor snow storm, a forest that magically appears and a Christmas tree that grows from 10 to 30 feet. This year’s show will boast a cast of more than 140 dancers and actors from six different regional schools, along with many adult community leaders and business people.
In a sort of exchange program, three dancers from Intercity Ballet — Madison Bailey, Hannah Gossett and Phil Clemons — have been invited to perform the role of Chinese with the North County Ballet of San Diego, Calif. Four dancers from the North County Ballet will come to Kingsport to dance the role of Reed Pipes.
Returning to Kingsport will be professional dancer Pablo Infante, who will dance the roles of Snow King and Cavalier.
Born in Tijuana, Mexico, Infante began studying ballet at Centro de Ballet y Arte. In 1998, he joined the Compania de Danza de Baja California, and in 2002 he was promoted to principal dancer. In 2003, he joined the California Ballet Co. and was promoted to soloist.
His repertoire includes featured roles in full-length ballets such as “The Nutcracker,” “Swan Lake,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Carmen,” “Cinderella,” “Who Cares,” “Ballet Imperial,” “Spanish Serenades” and “Suite Vivaldi,” among others.
The roles of Sugar Plum and Snow Queen will be danced by California resident Cassandra Lund. Lund received most of her dance training at New West Ballet School in California under the direction of Eugenia Keefer. She has danced on scholarship in New York City with the Joffrey Ballet School trainee program, and was a scholarship recipient with Tremaine Dance Conventions.
Lund has performed with the Mojalet Dance Collective, the Palomar College Dance Ensemble and in 2000 joined the California Ballet Company, rising quickly to the status of principle dancer. She currently teaches at high school dance camps across the western United States for the United Spirit Association.
Phil Clemons will dance the role of the Nutcracker. Madeline Howe and Hallie Miracle will share the role of Clara, with Chloe Rose and Sara Stewart as understudies. Sharing the role of Fritz will be Aaron Jackson and Aiden Ponder.
Sharing the role of Mechanical Doll are Beth Hartsock and Chloie Ottinger. Devil Doll will be danced by Samantha Hess, Caroline Luethke, Mollie Kate Blalock and Sara Stewart. Danielle Bear, Cate McClellan and Whitney Welch will dance the roles of Dew Drop Fairies.
Snow Demi Soloist will be danced by Taylor Hubbard, Sofia Lawson, Taylor Smith and Chelsea Sumpter. Dancing the role of Arabian will be Kristen and Tanner Looney. The roles of Clara’s parents will be danced by Jeff and Amy Luethke.
Darrell Duncan and Dorothy Hanner Ratcliff, artistic director of the Intercity Ballet, will again dance the role of Grandfather and Grandmother.
A native New Yorker, Ratcliff studied dance with the American School of Ballet, Ballet Arts, Robert Joffery and Tour Jete International in Cannes, France. She graduated from the New York School of Performing Arts with a major in ballet and a minor in modern and drama. She has danced professionally throughout the United States and Canada, and was a member of the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.
She is now director of the Centre for the Performing Arts.
Daniel Ratcliff will again perform the role of the ever-popular Rat King. Mark Clark will rejoin Intercity Ballet as Mother Ginger, and Mike McGinn will reprise his role of Uncle Drosselmeyer. Ben Blevins will dance the role of Russian.
Tickets for the evening performances are $25 and $15 for reserved seating, and $8 for balcony general admission. Tickets are available at the Kingsport Town Center across from Santa Claus’ Workshop, and at the Toy Reid Employee Center. If available, tickets may be purchased at the door.
Former dancers are invited to a special recognition at the end of both evening performances.
Intercity’s production of “The Nutcracker” is sponsored by Eastman Chemical Co., Eastman Recreation Club, WKPT TV/AM, WTFM, Kingsport Town Center Mall and Hampton Inn.
For more information, visit www.intercityballet.org or call (423) 246-2199.