Nov 22, 2012 1:49 PM by Dan Shadwell
With the holidays, come traditions... and one of the most spectacular of those is Peter Tchaikovsky's masterpiece ballet.
This weekend, the Santa Maria Civic Theatre is preparing for the 26th year of its production of "Nutcracker."
The countless hours of rehearsal, hard work and discipline are all paying off for both the choreographer and her dancers, who range in age from pre-school to adult. Despite the sacrifices, you won't catch any of them complaining.
"Idon't do anything else but this for 6 weeks out of the year and it's my life.," says Juliet Peck. "I love it."
"I've always dreamed of being Clara," explains ... i've also had fun doing other parts, too.>
"I just think it's a fun performance to do," says 7-year-old dancer, Andrea Davis.
120 years after its first performance, the tale of the young girl and her toy soldier still captivates the imagination of young people. "Some mice come out and the nutcracker comes to life and a bunch of toy soldiers fight the mice and this tree starts growing," Davis says with a big smile.
"Everyone has those times in their lives when they were young and had a toy that they really liked," Katie Lester agrees. Tchaikovsky tells the story through a collage of varied dances--a mouse king march, sugar plum ferry minuet, a waltz of flowers, even Russian dances... and most of the kids in the show dance multiple roles.
When Diane Zink started the company 26 years ago, her eldest dancer was just 12. Now, some still return as adults to perform.
Zink explains, "it's really wonderful to see them grow up in confidence and in strength and awareness of what they can do in their lives and send them out into the world to see what they're going to become."
Katie Lester has danced various parts in the ballet for more than a decade and though she's in high school now, she says she'll return in future years to continue with the show.
There are just two Santa Maria Civic Ballet performances of "Nutcracker."
They're at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande. The first show is Saturday evening at 7. The second show is a matinee on Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $17 for adults, $10 for children. For more information, go to www.clarkcenter.org.
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