A! Magazine for the Arts

 Drosselmeyer paints the Nutcracker.

Drosselmeyer paints the Nutcracker.

Sugarplums, gingerbread, and cherished traditions

November 25, 2015

The holidays are made up of wonderful traditions and warm memories, and for many that includes attending the holiday ballet favorite, "The Nutcracker."

Carrying on this great tradition, Bristol Ballet prepares for its 2015 holiday evening and matinee performances of "The Nutcracker" Dec. 11, 12 and 13, at the Paramount Center for the Arts, in historic downtown Bristol."Whether this is your first experience at a Nutcracker performance or your 50th, you're sure to see something new. This year we are excited to havemore boys involved in the production. We held auditions for local community members and had a nice turnout," said Michele Plescia, artistic director of Bristol Ballet. "We have also added a character who is in a wheel chair, which gives the party scene a new depth and variation." Some things remain the same, such as returning local actor and high school football coach Mike Locke playing Drosselmeyer, and the four professional dancers returning to their same roles this year, by popular demand.

"Everyone loved our guest artists from last year, and we are thrilled that they are all able to return to their roles as Drosselmeyer, Sugar Plum Fairy, Nutcracker, Snow Queen and Cavalier, and Arabian. It's fun to have some things remain the same and other aspects change from year to year. We hope it will pique the interests of audience members and keep them excited to return each year," Plescia said. Bristol Ballet Junior Company member, Collin White, dances the roll of Clara. In addition, 47 Bristol Ballet students and company members, and close to 20 community members perform in roles such as Angels, Russian, Marzipan and Party Guest.

A new tradition in the making is the Gingerbread Ball. For the second year, Bristol Ballet invites families to meet some of the main characters in "The Nutcracker." Families enjoy delicious Blackbird Bakery gingerbread cookies, snowflake sugar cookies, hot chocolate, tea and coffee at the Bristol Ballet Studio immediately after the Saturday matinee performance. Photos of the event will be provided to each attendee. The cost (which is separate from the tickets to "The Nutcracker" performance) is $10 per person. This was a sell-out last year, so reservations are strongly recommended and may be made by calling Bristol Ballet, 276-669-6051. Two school performances are open to public schools, private schools and home-school groups Dec. 10 and 11 at 10 a.m. Students are free of charge. Schools may reserve seats by calling Bristol Ballet at 276-669-6051.

Founded in 1948, Bristol Ballet's mission is to promote, encourage and sustain community interest and education in the art of ballet and to contribute to the cultural progress of the community by the following: The operation and management of a school of formal dance education, focusing on ballet. The creation and expansion of a performing company for advanced ballet students, with inclusion of younger students when appropriate. School performances are free to school children and qualifying chaperones. Public performances are $6 children under 6, $12 students and seniors, $15 adults.