A Christmas tradition: ‘The Nutcracker’ sees new shifts in 26th annual performance | NevadaAppeal.com

A Christmas tradition: ‘The Nutcracker’ sees new shifts in 26th annual performance

"The Nutcracker" is one of Fallon's longtime annual Christmas traditions, enduring on its 26th year when curtains open Dec. 14. The show will feature at least 20 cast members who have been performing in the ballet for almost a decade.

But this year, the Fallon City Ballet & Studio for the Performing Arts is presenting new shifts in its production; there are more male choreographed parts and The Nutcracker role has been passed on to a younger generation.

For slightly over a quarter of a century, Director Jef Horne played The Nutcracker role until this year, where his 17-year-old son, Jef Jr., will take the stage after nine years of performance.

"It's special to me because my dad has been doing it for so long," he said. "I feel like I've inherited the role and I've progressed. It's been a challenge but it feels great."

Director Horne said the cast has been rehearsing since August and roles are changed every year to give dancers the opportunity to enhance their skills.

"I don't think we've had so many young men participate in dancing roles," Horne said. "This year, we were able to choreograph the parts with the girls."

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As many of the current cast members have been a part of the ballet since they were about 7 years old, they have also noticed how much the performance has made an impact to their lives.

One of those dancers, Courtney LeBlanc, 14, will take the stage as Clara this year, the main female role of the ballet.

"I think the biggest takeaway is you have an opportunity to work on yourself and grow stronger," she said. "You grow on your own every time."

Going on her 13th year in the ballet, Madison Blea, 17, achieved her goal to dance as a Sugar Plum Fairy. In the past, she danced the roles of Clara and other female parts of the show.

"It's the people that bring me back," she said. "Everyone works really hard and it's great to see that pay off."

For her seventh year in the ballet, Maria Whitaker, 15, will perform as an Arabian dancer for the first time.

In the past, she also danced Gingerbread and Marzipan roles.

"I'm looking forward to the new flow of things," she said.

Now that Fallon's "The Nutcracker" is making a significant transformation in roles and dancers, Horne's wife and choreographer, Karen, hopes the ballet will continue to expand in future ballets.

"We hope this will continue to inspire more kids in town," she said. "We love watching the dancers progress and develop and this is the most we've had in years. We all enjoy each other."


Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and children of ages 4-14, and ages 3 and under are free.

Tickets can be purchased at the Studio at 3963 Arnold Way, Jeff’s Digitex Printing downtown on Maine Street, or any member of the Fallon City Ballet.

Performances are at 7 p.m. Dec. 14-16 inside of the Churchill County High School Fine Arts Auditorium.

For more information, call 423-1331.