Toy soldiers, dancing mice, Clara, Herr Drosselmeyer and the storied Sugar Plum Fairy will bring holiday magic to the Radford University campus in December when the Radford University Ballet Theater presents the perennial holiday favorite "The Nutcracker."
This year's production is staged by Associate Professor Inessa Plekhanova, artistic director of the RU Ballet Theater. It will combine the magnificent Tchaikovsky score with unforgettable lead performances by internationally renowned guest performers.
"'The Nutcracker' is a wonderful Christmas tradition," Plekhanova said. "It's all so familiar, and every child can get excited for it. It will be beautiful for families."
This will be the fourth time Plekhanova has directed "The Nutcracker" at RU. She is assisted by her husband and fellow faculty member, Aleksey Plekhanov. The pair's rich productions have become a highlight of Radford's holiday arts season.
This year's production will feature a cast of RU dance and theatre students, faculty members, dancers from the Radford University Ballet Youth program and three professional dancers: Humberto Teixiera, Deanna Stetsura and Misha Ronnikov.
Although combining such a diverse group with live music, sets and costumes is extremely hard work, the end result is impressive, Plekhanova said.
Radford hosts "The Nutcracker" every other year, but the show's budget did not allow for live music in 2010. This year's production will feature a full orchestra of students and faculty. Although many ballet companies perform the show with a recorded score, Plekhanova said there is no substitute for a live accompaniment.
"We hear this music all over at this time of year," Plekhanova said. "You always hear Tchaikovsky even if you don't recognize it. It's all so familiar, and it is an important tradition."
"The Nutcracker" can be seen on Friday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 2 p.m. All performances are in Bondurant Auditorium, Preston Hall. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $5 for children and RU dependents, and free with an RU ID.
Tickets are on sale now at the Hurlburt Student Center Information Desk, (540) 831-5420.