River Region Ballet to perform annual Christmas classic ‘The Nutcracker’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The River Region Ballet is once again presenting the seasonal favorite “The Nutcracker.” The full-length version of this timeless Tchaikovsky classic will be performed on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12, at 2 p.m. As a special gift

to the children of

the community, RRB will also present a special children’s matinee on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m. Professional guest artists Jessica Fry McAlister and Ramon Gaitan will be dancing the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier and also the Snow Queen and King. Both performances are at Destrehan High School Auditorium, No. 1 Wildcat Lane. Tickets are $15 through Nov. 30 for full length performances and $10 for the Children’s Matinee.

The children’s matinee will be followed by a “Sugar Plum Party.” The audience members will be invited to join the Sugar Plum Fairy onstage and experience “The Kingdom of Sweets” for themselves. They can meet and talk to their favorite characters, experience what it’s like to be on the stage under the glowing lights, and take pictures. Each young audience member will be given a special gift to remember their Nutcracker experience.

Molly Nagele, daughter of Jeff and Karen Nagele of Destrehan, has been chosen for the lead role of “Clara” in this year’s production of The Nutcracker. Nagele is currently a freshman at St. Mary’s Dominican High School. She has been dancing with the River Region Ballet for nine years. Her “Nutcracker” roles include: little girl, mouse, mouse lieutenant, soldier, candy cane, gumdrop, friend, snow corps, waltz of the flowers and marzipan. She has also performed in the spring productions of “The Sleeping Beauty,” “Reverence,” “Cinderella,” “Royal Mischief and “La Boutique Fantasque.” She has also performed with the River Drama Guild in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Nagele has studied dance at Images Dance Studio for 12 years, taking classes in ballet, pointe, tap and jazz. She recently attended the 2010 International Ballet Competition Summer Intensive where she had the opportunity to study under many renowned teachers. She is an extremely dedicated, passionate dancer who loves the art of ballet.

“I am greatly honored to be dancing the role of Clara in the 2010 Nutcracker and would like to thank all who are contributing to the production,” said Nagele.

The River Region Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” will utilize a cast of approximately 75 performers. Many have extensive dance backgrounds and have performed many years with the River Region Ballet. They are vibrant young dancers with experience in a variety of roles. RRB Soloists are Ashley Ericksen, Noelle Raymond and Hannah Weber. Featured dancers and corps de ballet are Taylor Amedee, Kiersten Baker, LeConte Banks, Madison Cancienne, Sarah DiLeo, Elizabeth Gilmore, Melissa Lancheche, Shannon Nagele, Renee Navarre, Ekuase Ogunbor, Madeleine Raymond and Allie Wursteisen. Junior Company dancers are Emily Champagne, Rose Coats, Kaela Hymel, Heather Rayneri, Emily Schexnayder and Laura Sullivan. Other dancers are Hailey Beard, Meghan Berthelot, Lily Coats, Anne-Marie Dufrene, Rachael Durapau, Asia Farlough, Emma France, Luke Gassen, Caroline Genius, Natalie Gilmore, Nicole Gilmore, Madelyn Guilbeau, Lianne Keller, Brooke LeBlanc, Matthew Lewis, Abigail Logan, Rachel Logan, Kate Lougon, Kamryn Madere, Katelyn Moore, Ashley Payne, Caroline Payne, Grace Raymond, Payton Saucier, John Schmidt Jr., Joshua Schmidt, Madison Schmitt, Matthew Schmitt, Claire Seymour, Abigail Smith, Michael Smith, Paul Sullivan, Elizabeth Tew, Shelby Walls and Erin Whittington.

Featured actors are Paul Ory as Uncle Drosselmeyer, Austin Pecot as the Mouse King, Christopher Powers as the Nutcracker, Jeff and Karen Nagele as Mr. and Mrs. Silberhaus, and Evan Keller as Fritz. Also performing in the Party scene are Clifton Beary, Ronald and Catherine Coats, Tina and Jeff Gassen, Juanita Marino, Debbie Navarre, Heidi Schindler and Erika Spengler.

For ticket information call 504-202-7706 or e-mail  riverregionballet@cox.net. Beginning Dec. 1, tickets will only be available at the door. Full-length performance tickets are $20 at the door.