'The Nutcracker' is this weekend

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra and Piedmont Dance Theatre team up again to present the family classic “The Nutcracker,” the audience will be treated to new sets, new costumes and some new dancers.
Performances are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 17and 18, at Keppel Auditorium at Catawba College.
Reserved seating is offered for $25 and $20 for adults (ages 19 and older) and $12 and $10 for children (ages 18 and younger).
Choreographed by Piedmont Dance Theatre Artistic Director, Rebecca Massey Wiley, this year’s production boasts an experienced cast and includes two guest artists. Erica Wesselman and Samuel Alan Chester of Carolina Ballet Theater will star as the Sugarplum and Cavalier.
“Our production changes every year,” Wiley says. “As our dancers improve, we are able to challenge them with new choreography throughout the show.”
The entire snow scene has been revamped this year, and roles for the Marzipan, Arabian, Chinese and younger dancers have also been updated, Wiley says.
Many of last year’s Cherubs have a new role this year as Gumdrops. Daniel Wiley will return as the Russian with two lead Russian dancers and a corps of eight dancers and will also star as Drosselmeyer this year. More than $9,000 has gone into updating sets and creating new costumes.
This year’s production has a cast of 73 dancers, ages 6 to 18. The role of the Nutcracker is being revisited by Taylor Bailey; Clara will be danced by Arzu Salman from Mooresville. Other student leads include Rebecca Paul of Charlotte, Grace Puckett of Harrisburg, Sarah Ensley of Kannapolis and Meredith Richardson of Concord.
Tchaikovsky’s lush and familiar score will not change, but the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra, led by David Hagy, features musicians from all around the region, too. Professional musicians who perform with the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Western Piedmont, and Charlotte symphonies are familiar faces to Salisbury audiences throughout the orchestra’s seasons.
“Rarely, these days is ‘The Nutcracker’ performed with a live orchestra,” Hagy says. “This is a special treat not only for the dancers but also our audience.”
Linda Jones, Executive Director of the Salisbury-Rowan Symphony Society, is handling telephone ticket sales. “For many,” she says, “going to ‘The Nutcracker’ is an annual treat. For others – I’m thinking of a grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter, in particular – this year is a first experience for all! And, one woman who said that she likes to see different versions of ‘The Nutcracker’ each year, feels she doesn’t have to leave home as PDT changes its presentation just enough that she can attend the Salisbury production every year and still get that feeling of ‘fresh and new’!”
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Symphony office at 704-637-4314 and charging seats to a Visa or MasterCard; tickets can also be purchased online at www.salisburysymphony.org.