‘The Nutcracker’ takes center stage

“The Nutcracker”

Presented by Sequim Ballet

When: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15 & 16, 2:00 p.m. on Dec. 17

Where: Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave.

Tickets: Available online at olympictheatrearts.org or at the box office from 1-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Contact: 360-683-7326

The Sequim Ballet is leaping into the holiday season with its second production of “The Nutcracker.”

Directed and choreographed by Sequim Ballet owner and instructor Laurel Herrera, this year’s performance will offer Sequim audiences a new show with some changes.

“This is the traditional story but we’re changing it to fit our needs,” Herrera said.

The show runs at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15 and Saturday, Dec. 16 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17 at Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave. The Sunday performance will include a Sugar Plum Fairy Party afterwards.

Herrera said the show will follow the original story-line of “The Nutcracker” but the character Clara will feature the same dancer throughout the entire show.

“This year our Clara is Kate D’Amico and she’ll be playing the role the whole way through.”

Kate, 14, said dancing throughout the show will be challenging but she is excited for the music that is “a lot different from other versions,” she said.

Herrera said this version of the story is the same one as the 1977 televised production with Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

The show features 20 dancers from the ages of 7-years-old to adults, with one whole family participating in the ballet together.

Parents Maureen and Quincy Byrne will participate in this year’s show with their son Liam and daughter Eleanor. Maureen plays a party-goer, Quincy plays Clara’s father, Liam plays the role of the Nutcracker and Eleanor has six different parts.

Liam, 17, used to dance at Hererra’s studio when he was a freshman in high school and is coming back to help out with this show. His sister Eleanor, 14, is a regular at Herrera’s studio who has been dancing since she was four.

Eleanor said she enjoys this performance because Herrera assigns parts that really fit each dancer’s style.

Maureen and Quincy Byrne said they are doing the show with their children, “because Eleanor loves it so much.”

Sequim Ballet is excited to introduce some new elements to the show as well such as a swan sleigh — a prop the ballet had to build — which picks Clara up and delivers her to the Land of Sweets.

The storyline also includes a few other adapted elements such as a twist in the infamous fight scene between the Rat King and the Nutcracker and later a nod to American Ballet Theatre’s “Whipped Cream” in another scene.

Herrera said her dancers have been in rehearsal since summer and practice four times a week. She said it’s a big commitment for her dancers but once show time rolls around they will be ready to give a grand performance.

“I think (the audience) is going to enjoy the level of excitement my kids are performing with,” she said.

“It’s very enlightening to see we have so many talented kids living here.”

For more information or to buy tickets for the show, visit http://olympictheatrearts.org/OTA/ or at the box office from 1-5 p.m., Monday-Friday, 414 N. Sequim Ave. or call 360-683-7326.

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