Pyotr Tchaikovsky first conceived of his ballet The Nutcracker as a work for children to be danced by children. Adults soon took over the complex principal roles, however.
Mixing young and old proved the right combination. A cornucopia of professionals and students has helped make The Nutcracker the most popular of all classical ballets.
Thirty-five Sandusky-area children team up with professionals this weekend when the Chicago Festival Ballet presents The Nutcracker tomorrow and Sunday in the Sandusky State Theatre.
"This has been a wonderful opportunity for the children," said Matthew Joslyn, Sandusky State Theatre's education director.
Aged 8 to 11 and cast as mice, soldiers, and angels, the youngsters have been rehearsing weekly since early October. They will first work with the professionals tonight when the company, freshly arrived from Chicago, runs its dress rehearsal.
Chicago Festival Ballet was founded by artistic director Kenneth von Heidecke, who also serves as choreographer-in-residence at Chicago's Lyric Opera. Featured soloists include Meredith Benson and Guillermo Leyva, both former principal dancers of the Joffrey Ballet.
The Chicago Festival Ballet presents Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Sandusky State Theatre, 107 Columbus Ave., Sandusky. Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors, and $12 for students under 18. Information: 1-877-378-2150.
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