Berlin residents Louis and Anastasia Houle, Olivia Kittleman, Megan Leary, and Margot Paul will all perform in prominent roles as Theatre Company of West Hartford celebrates its 11th anniversary of The Nutcracker ballet this December with performances in West Hartford and Woodstock.
This is the third year that Roman Baca’s artistic direction brings together his professional dance experience with inspiration from his military background for this production. The ballet opens in the workshop of "Colonel Drosselmeyer”, who is creating a very special gift for his nephew “Alexander” who is about to be deployed to war. This special gift, a Nutcracker Soldier doll, comes to life for a young girl named “Clara." All of the elements of the traditional Nutcracker ballet are staged – the Stahlbalm holiday party, the battle between the Nutcracker Soldier and the Mouse King, the Snowflakes, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Land of the Sweets – but Baca’s rendition integrates classical ballet with unique military twists including Marines, Rangers, and more.
A US Marine Iraq War Veteran who served in Fallujah, Iraq, Baca has taken his experiences in war and transformed them into pirouettes and plies." (from an American Public Media interview with Roman Baca upon his return from Iraq, Dec 2009). He is a graduate of the Nutmeg Conservatory in Torrington, the director of New York City’s Exit 12 Dance Company, and has received national recognition for his work in serving veteran populations by channeling their stories and experiences through dance, and using movement as a vehicle for social change and a means for promoting cross-cultural understanding. A dynamic force at Ballet Theatre Company, Baca will also join the cast of more than 60 local children and professional dancers from Connecticut and New York City and perform the role of "Colonel Drosselmeyer” in the production.
This year also marks the 120th year of the Nutcracker ballet. In 1890, director Ivan Vsevolozhsky commissioned Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to create a musical score for a two-act ballet choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov based on E.T.A. Hoffmann's story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. On Sunday December 18, 1892, the Nutcracker ballet premiered with Tchaikovsky's opera Iolanta at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, and has since enchanted audiences countless times around the world.
Ballet Theatre Company’s Nutcracker has become a family holiday tradition in central Connecticut. BTC, a 501c3 non-profit organization, is also proud to share its in-house talents by giving back to the community, and will once again stage a free performance for 600 underserved Greater Hartford area children and have Marine Toys for Tots collection boxes at all performances. In addition, Ballet Theatre Company honors those who have served our country by offering discounted tickets to military veterans and active duty servicemen.
BTC is supported in part by the United Arts Campaign of the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Department of Economic and Community Development.
Ballet Theatre Company’s Nutcracker will be performed at the Carol Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities at the University of Saint Joseph, 1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford from Thursday December 13 through Sunday December 16. Times are as follows: December 13 at 6:30 pm, December 14 at 7:30 pm, December 15 at 1:00 pm and 5:00pm, December 16 at 1:00 pm and 4:30 pm. For information or ticket sales at this location contact Ballet Theatre Company at www.dancebtc.org or call (860) 570-0440.
The Northeast corner of the state also welcomes BTC’s Nutcracker Saturday December 8 at 3:00 pm at the Hyde Cultural Center, 150 Route 169, Woodstock, CT. For information or ticket sales at this location contact the Hyde Cultural Center’s box office at (860) 928-2946.