‘Nutcracker’ comes to stage for Winter Celebration

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The Noble Dance Performing Company, left or right, Solveig Baumgarten, Annie Howeth, Kaylee King, Tove’ Davies, Mia Gannon, Eden Rodriguez, Elise Sabin, Allie Jellison and Brie Treat. Not Pictured are Amariah Fellers and Olivia Rice. (Photography by Wayne Murphy of JMK Photograph)

The Noble Dance Performing Company presents “The Nutcracker” with special guest artist Abby Cockrell, a Whitefish native, for its ninth annual Winter Celebration on Dec. 6-8.

Cockrell currently dances professionally with Northern Ballet in England. Under the direction of Natalie Molter, the performance includes four showtimes in Whitefish on Dec. 6, 7, and 8 at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center.

Noble Dance breathes new life into the classic tale of “The Nutcracker” with a fresh storyline, strong choreography, and inspired dancing.

Act 1 begins with Clara, played by Mia Gannon of Bigfork, entertaining her friends at a holiday party. With the arrival of the mysterious Aunt Drosslmeyer comes the entertainment of two life size dolls that dance their way into Clara’s imagination. Once the party is over, Clara dreams of a dramatic battle where toy soldiers spring to life to protect her from the creepy house rats. When the commotion of the Battle Scene subsides, tranquility settles in as dancing snowflakes transport Clara through the Enchanted Snow Forest and on into the sugary Land of the Sweets. Treat inspired solos, duets and trios from all over the world occur one right after another. Spanish Chocolate, Arabian Coffee, Chinese Tea, Marzipan and more are led by everyone’s favorite, the Sugar Plum Fairy, danced by company dancer Elise Sabin of Whitefish. The tradition isn’t complete without the Waltz of the Flowers and the company doesn’t disappoint.

This year, Molter’s former student, Abby Cockrell will be returning to perform in the Winter Celebration. Currently residing in England and dancing with Northern Ballet, Cockrell will be performing with her Scottish partner, Gavin McCaig, also of Northern Ballet in England. The two professional ballet dancers will be performing as the Snow Queen and King during Act 1 and will also be highlighted in the gorgeous grande pas de deux of Act 2.

“It will be an absolute treat to have Abby and her partner share the stage with us again our company is very excited. Abby is a powerful performer and I can’t wait to see how she has grown in these past few years,” said Molter.

Although the workload of the production is placed largely on the shoulders of the Noble Dance Performing Company dancers, every student in the Noble School of Ballet and Storybook Ballet School, some 200 students, is also performing during the weekend along with another special guest artist and cofounder of Noble Dance, Carol Jakes Sullivan. Miss Carol, as she is lovingly referred to by her students, developed the Storybook Ballet School, where the youngest dancers at Noble Dance are inspired. She will be dancing the role of Aunt Drosselmeyer, the magical and mysterious dollmaker.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8. Tickets are $20 adults, $10 students, and lap sitters are free. All tickets are reserved seating and can be purchased at nobledance.org.

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