Pinkerton's 'Nutcracker Ballet' comes to life for the 19th year

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Ryan Frier and Morgan Gillott, 11, rehearse for the upcoming performance of 'The Nutcracker' while at Pinkerton Dance Studio on Friday.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Ryan Frier and Morgan Gillott, 11, rehearse for the upcoming performance of 'The Nutcracker' while at Pinkerton Dance Studio on Friday.

After 19 years, almost anything goes as the Pinkerton Ballet Theatre of Carson City returns with its production of the "The Nutcracker Ballet" for the holidays.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed the ballet in 1891Ð92 based on "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" (for all you German students: "Der Nussknacker und der Mäusekönig"), a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann. Alexandre Dumas père's adaptation of the story was set to music by Tchaikovsky.

That's the history of it all, but you don't need that to enjoy what is undoubtedly the most popular ballet in the United States, particularly during the holidays.

This is the tale of a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King.

It is Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum house - a large and grand house with a most beautiful tree. The Stahlbaums are hosting their annual Christmas party, welcoming the arrival of their family and friends. The children, Clara and Fritz, are dancing and playing as they welcome their friends.

The party grows with music and dance as Godfather Drosselmeyer arrives. He is a skilled clock and toy maker. Drosselmeyer draws everyone's attention as he presents two life-size dolls. He gives Clara a beautiful Nutcracker that becomes the hit of the party. Fritz becomes jealous and grabs the nutcracker and breaks it. Clara is heartbroken; Drosselmeyer quickly repairs the Nutcracker.

The Stahlbaum family goes to bed. Clara, worried about her beloved Nutcracker, sneaks back to the tree to check on him, falling asleep with him in her arms.

From here on it's fantasy with some of Tchaikovsky's most romantic music offering a guide for the dancers. As a finale, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier dance a beautiful pas de deux. The dream ends, Clara awakens from her dream and finds herself by her Christmas tree with her beloved Nutcracker.

That's probably more than you need to know to delight in this ballet spectacular.

The cast of 90 includes members from all over the local area and featured guest artists will travel here from around the nation.

Husband and wife team Corbin and Whitney Popp star as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier. Dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy for the Reno performance is Melissa Framiglio; Scott Trumbo will portray the Cavalier.

Tristi Ann McMaster Robinson is back this year, dancing the role of the Snow Queen. She is a native of Carson City and began her training at Pinkerton. Performing in the role of the Snow King in Carson City will be Charles Neshyba-Hodges, whose training also began at Pinkerton. Norvell Robinson Jr. will be the Snow King in the Reno show.

Sharing the featured role in Arabian Pas de Deux are Natalie Berger and Tamra McMaster Mehringer. Natalie was born and raised in Carson City, where she too trained with Pinkerton.

The true spirit of Russian dancing will be brought by Armen and Ruben Hagopian, professional folklore character dancers.

The role of Clara will be shared by Morgan Gillott, of Carson City, and Brittany Ervin, of Reno. Ryan Frier of Sparks will perform as the Nutcracker Prince and Pinkerton alumnus Becca Kitchen, of Reno, and Brianna Goodfellow will share the Dew Drop Fairy role.

• Contact reporter Sam Bauman at or 881-1236.

If you go

What: Pinkerton Ballet Theatre's production of "The Nutcracker Ballet"

When: Carson City - 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. Reno - 7 p.m. Dec. 7 and 2 p.m. Dec. 8

Where: Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.; and Grand Sierra Resort, 2500 E. Second St. in Reno

Cost: Carson City - $22 for general admission, $18 for students and seniors; Reno - $35.20 and $27.50

Information: Tickets are available at Sugar Pine Cove gift shop, 1087 S. Carson St., or at 884-4603 until Friday at noon. In Reno, tickets are available at the Grand Sierra Resort at 789-2285. Tickets will be sold at the door starting 90 minutes before performances. Call 841-4232.


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