Saint Augustine Ballet Artistic Director Luis Abella is excited to present the 10th Annual Nutcracker to the community. This holiday favorite will be staged on Saturday, December 22 and Sunday, December 23— at 1:30pm and 7pm both days — in Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College. Tickets are $25 to $30 with discounts for ages 65 and older, and 12 and younger. The Nutcracker is a magical holiday show that features mischievous mice, dancing dolls, sparkling snowflakes, custom-designed scenery and costumes, and skillful athletic dancing.
“The Nutcracker puts everyone in the mood for the holidays, and this is a family ballet that everyone can identify with,” said Abella, a professionally trained dancer from Cuba who toured professionally before moving to St. Augustine when he created Saint Augustine Ballet. “We change up the storyline to make it more audience-friendly. Even if guests don’t know about ballet, they will still understand the timeless story.”
In addition to the local and professional dancers in the show, St. Augustine celebrities also perform. This year’s community dancers include Tommy Bledsoe (10th year) and Joy D’Elia as Clara’s parents. Party Parents are Katherine and Dr. Todd Batenhorst, Jane and Joe Boles (also both in their 10th year), Dr. Bill and Susan Foody, Beth and Tracy Upchurch, and Georgia Garrett. William Masson will be Mother Ginger.
Julio Conception is a guest artist who will perform as the Cavalier. Born and raised in Matanzas, Cuba, his professional training includes The Vocational Arts School in Matanzas, Cuba and the National Ballet School in Cuba. He joined the National Ballet of Cuba in 2008. He danced with the Cincinnati Ballet in 2013. He joined the Oklahoma City Ballet in 2015 and has performed in many dance shows including Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Giselle. He has been a guest artists in The Great Gatsby with Ballet Palm Beach and has danced in the Miami International Dance Festival.
Sugar Plum will be danced by Grace Karger, a Saint Augustine Ballet student and a member of the newly formed Jr. Company. This is Grace’s eighth Nutcracker performance with the Saint Augustine Ballet. She is the second student to dance the role of Sugar Plum in all 10 years.
“In 10 years we finally have reached the pre-professional level, forming the Jr. Company. We have six student dancers in Jr. Company,” Abella said.
Clara will be danced by Jolynne Waldner, a freshman at Flagler Palm Coast High School. The Nutcracker/Prince role is danced by Jake Karger.
They will also be joined by 3 pre-professional male dancers from the Orlando Molina Ballet Training Center in Duluth, Ga, Joseph Dlearo, Joshua Nunamaker, and Collin Moser. Orlando Molina will also be returning as Drosselmeyer.
Learn more about the Nutcracker and the Saint Augustine Ballet by visiting www.saintaugustineballet.com or by calling 855-222-2849.