Life-size dolls! Battling mice! Dancing snowflakes! Upper Darby Performing Arts Center invites audiences to join Marie on an exciting adventure to the Land of the Sweets as the Main Line’s Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet Society presents The Nutcracker Nov. 17, 18 and 19. The classically trained dancers and professional soloists offer an impressive, professional-level production – the weekend before Thanksgiving – that is popularly priced for all family members to enjoy.
The 90-minute performances take place on Nov. 17 at 7:00 p.m., Nov. 18 at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and Nov. 19 at 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Performances are ideal for children ages 4 and up. Upper Darby Performing Arts Center is located at 601 N. Lansdowne Avenue in Drexel Hill.
The classic Christmas story revolves around a young girl who discovers a world far beyond the comforts of her home. Danced to the exciting score by the Russian composer Pyotr (Peter) Tchaikovsky, the popular ballet has become a traditional holiday activity.
Performed by the renowned Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet of Narberth, one of the few dance academies in the Philadelphia region dedicated solely to classical ballet training, PABS Nutcracker performances feature professional soloists in addition to the students. The professional quality performances are ninety minutes in length and offer an affordable alternative to introduce young audience members to the classic holiday ballet.
“Dancers and performers in a story ballet, like The Nutcracker, use their artistry and technique to tell the tale. The audience is there to get swept away by the story and use their imagination,” said Melinda Pendleton, Director of Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet. “Having the story told in live performance enables young audience members to feel as if they are sharing the characters experiences….drawing them into the world of ballet and story-telling. This is what makes it magical on many levels.”
The professional soloists include Heather Holajter (Colorado Ballet, First State Ballet Theatre, Opus 1 Contemporary) as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Rick Callender (Washington Ballet, Texas Ballet Theatre, Suzanne Farrell Ballet Company, Pennsylvania Ballet) as the Cavalier. From the Pennsylvania Ballet, Austin Eyler (graduate of PAB) and Sydney Dolan are performing the Snow King and Queen. Madeline Hirsch of Wynnewood, a student at Pennsylvania Ballet Academy, plays Marie.
The Upper Darby Performing Arts Center is easy to get to from the Main Line, Center City and the Blue Route. Parking is free. Audience members are invited to take holiday photos with cast members after the Saturday, Nov. 18 performances.
The Upper Darby Performing Arts Center and Upper Darby Summer Stage are jointly sponsored by the Upper Darby School District Board of School Directors and Upper Darby Township Mayor and Council through the Department of Recreation and Leisure Services.