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Curtain Rises Again on SWVA Ballet’s 2019 Production of “The Nutcracker”

For 26 Decembers, the curtain has risen on Roanoke’s premier stage to the stirring strains of Tchaikovsky. For 26 Decembers, the bejeweled bodices and fanciful sets have set a magical mood for hundreds in the audience. For 26 Decembers, the region’s top dancers have commanded ovations for each of their four performances.

Tickets are now on sale for the 27th production of the Virginia’s Blue Ridge Holiday Tradition, “The Nutcracker.”

Featuring a cast of 150 performers that represent more than 15 dance schools as well as community members who shine in roles from party parents to mischievous mice, Southwest Virginia Ballet’s Nutcracker is the largest and the longest running in the Roanoke region. It is also beloved by its community, receiving a Platinum Award for Best Arts Performance in 2018 by The Roanoker magazine.

SVB’s Nutcracker features original choreography by artistic director Pedro Szalay, lighting design by award-winning lighting and production manager Dirk Kuyk and performances by the dancers of Southwest Virginia Ballet, 2019 winners of the prestigious Grishko Award at the New Prague Dance Festival in the Czech Republic.

New this year: Before each Saturday performance audience members can take the stage with ballerina Clara, dance at artistic director Szalay’s instruction, see the secrets of Herr Drosselmeyer’s dolls, tour backstage and obtain cast autographs. To participate, select the VIP Experience from the Berglund Center’s box office or online. Cost is $12. Availability is limited to the 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. shows on Saturday, December 14.

The world’s best-known ballet, “The Nutcracker” is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. It’s the story of a celebration of yore, where dolls come to life, Christmas trees magically grow, mice and soldiers battle, sweets from exotic lands surprise and the Sugar Plum fairy delights with her leaps and turns and intricate footwork.

Pytor Tchaikovsky’s orchestral score is as familiar as it is acclaimed — a near soundtrack to the holidays.

Southwest Virginia Ballet, an award-winning, pre-professional dance company, is beginning its 29th year with four dozen company members, ages 10 to 18. Company members travel from Blacksburg, Henry County, Galax and beyond, dancing together in a newly renovated studio in the Roanoke Industrial Center each Saturday from August through May. Company membership, instruction and costumes are provided free of charge. Membership is based on demonstrated skill level and is open to all dancers without regard to gender, race, color or national origin.

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