MS Metro Ballet Presents Holiday Classic The Nutcracker

> The Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet, under the direction of Jennifer Beasley, will present their annual production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker on December 10-11 at the Jackson Academy Performing Arts Center, on Ridgewood Road in Jackson. Guest artists Gabriela Mesa and Huberto Blanco will dance the lead roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Her Cavalier, and guest artist Javier Miranda will dance the role of The Snow King. All three guest artists were trained at the Cuban National Ballet School and danced with the National Ballet of Cuba before coming to the United States.
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> Performances are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Saturday, December 10, with matinee performances at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11. The “Nutcracker Sweet” Tea Parties will follow the matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday at 4:00 p.m. The tea party includes a whimsical candy buffet, savory appetizers and pastas from Sugar Magnolia Takery, delicious desserts from Nothing Bundt Cakes, festive decorations, and the opportunity to meet the characters from the ballet.
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> The timeless story of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince has delighted audiences of all ages for more than one hundred years. MMB’s version of the grand ballet takes Clara and the audience from the festive party scene of toys, soldier dolls, and puppets, through the magical Land of Snow and finally to the Land of Sweets. From the wondrous beauty of the Sugarplum Fairy, to the excitement of the mice and soldier battle scene, to the comical Mother Ginger and her Polichinelles, there is something to entertain everyone.
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> Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet, a non-profit ballet company based in Madison and a member of the prestigious Southeastern Regional Ballet Association, presents its annual production of The Nutcracker with participation from over 130 dancers from the metro Jackson area. Dancers are selected through an audition process from Mississippi Metropolitan Dance Academy students. The Mississippi Metropolitan Dance Academy is the official school of the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet.
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> The Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet has been under the artistic direction of Jennifer Beasley since 1997. Beasley danced professionally with Louisville Ballet and for five years with Ballet Mississippi, including the final year of the professional company’s existence when the organization was led by dance legend Fernando Bujones. Since taking the helm at MMB in 1997, the company has more than tripled in size and currently has two locations, Madison and Reservoir. In addition to The Nutcracker, annually presents a full-length spring production. Past ballets that have been presented include Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Pea, Swan Lake, Act 3, and Don Quixote, Act 3. The company premiered Frozen Heart: The Tale of the Snow Queen in April 2016, based on the famous Hans Christian Andersen story that was made wildly popular by the animated film “Frozen.” MMB is additionally led by Executive Director Crystal Skelton, a former professional dancer with the Cincinnati Ballet, who will appear in the Party Scene of The Nutcracker along with MMB faculty member Erik Kegler, also a former professional dancer with the Cincinnati Ballet, who will perform the role of Herr Drosselmeyer.
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> In addition to the Cuban guest artists, Dexter Bishop, a Clinton native and MMB alumnus currently dancing professionally with Missouri Ballet Theatre, will appear in the Russian divertissement. The role of Clara will be danced by 14 year old MMB dancer and MMDA student Abigail McCaughan, who is in the ninth grade at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. McCaughan is a resident of Ridgeland and has studied at MMDA since she was 6 years old. Last summer she was awarded a scholarship to study at the Roswell Dance Theater in Atlanta, and she also attended the prestigious Rock School Summer Intensive in Pennsylvania. Mary Kate Shearer, a senior at Ridgeland High School, will perform the role of the Snow Queen and will share the role of the Dewdrop Fairy with Lauren Mackey, a senior at Northwest Rankin High School.
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> The Nutcracker is the perfect way to ring in the holiday season and to introduce children to the power and beauty of classical dance. “At the heart of Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet’s mission is our quest to share the magic of dance with the people of our community, and to encourage a love of the arts in the hearts and minds of our audience members,” says Beasley. “We are proud to again be presenting our annual production of The Nutcracker to our community; it is both our most important outreach tool, offering many in our community their first exposure to the ballet, but also a time-honored holiday tradition. It is just not the holiday season without The Nutcracker!”
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> Tea Party seating is reserved at tables of 10. Tickets for the Tea Party must be purchased in advance, and are sold separately from performance tickets. Performance tickets are available for $20 or $22, with discounts offered for senior citizens. Tickets for the Tea Party are $25. Tickets can be purchased online at www.msmetroballet.com or by calling 601-853-4508.
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> Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet is generously sponsored in the 2016-2017 season by The Mississippi Arts Commission, The National Endowment for the Arts, Ergon, Lefleur Limousine, BankPlus, Harper, Rains, Knight & Co, Sugar Magnolia Takery, and BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi.
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