‘Nutcracker’ coming to life

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, November 25, 2014

At 14, Lianne Keller is a veteran of the River Parishes’ creative arts scene.

The ninth grade student at Destrehan High School has studied dance at Images Dance Studio, under the direction of Susan Ferrara, for eight years. She was a member of the River Region Ballet Junior Company for three years and performed in ballets such as “Thumbelina,” “The Fairy Garden,” “Peter and the Wolf” and “The Nutcracker.”

Her experience takes another jump this winter season as she readies for the role of Clara in The River Region Ballet production of “The Nutcracker.”

The entire story of the ballet is seen through her eyes. Clara receives the nutcracker as a present at a Christmas party. The whimsical tale has the Nutcracker coming to life and fighting, with Clara’s help, an army of invading mice.

“Dancing Clara is a challenge and a dream,” Keller said. “That’s what makes it so exciting.”

Keller, the daughter of Eric and Shelley Keller of Destrehan, is an honor student who has been in Talented Art since the first grade. Dance, art, animation and film are her passions.

Starting as a mouse in “The Nutcracker,” she has made her way through roles as mouse lieutenant, soldier, candy cane, confectioner, friend, snow, waltz finale and, now, Clara.

This year’s performance marks the River Region Ballet’s 20th Anniversary Season in the River Parishes.

The full-length version of the timeless Tchaikovsky classic “The Nutcracker” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and 2 p.m. Dec. 7.

Professional guest artists Brianna Hagar 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, #1 Wildcat Lane.

Tickets are $20.

As a gift to children, River Region Ballet will also present a special children’s matinee at 3 p.m. Dec. 6.

Tickets are $15. This will be an abbreviated one-hour performance, which will be followed by a “Sugar Plum Party.”

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 receive a special gift to remember the experience.

Tickets can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com. All seats are reserved.

Tickets may also be purchased at the door: $25 for full-length performances, and $20 for the Sugar Plum Matinee. Cash and checks only are accepted at the door.