Of the many local artistic holiday traditions, one that continues to be an annual favorite is the Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre’s December performances of The Nutcracker. Next week, SCBT will raise the curtain for its 15th original production of the classic two act ballet, with five spectacular dance shows performed at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium with a full live orchestra.
This local production of The Nutcracker is part of SCBT’s ongoing dedication to bring Santa Cruz County exceptional classical ballet experiences. SCBT was formed as a non-profit organization in 1982 by Founding Director Jean Dunphy, to provide performance opportunities as part of education programs offered at The Studio, School of Classical Ballet. The Studio is now in its 40th year as a local dance academy offering pre-professional training for youth who are passionate about learning the art of classical ballet.
Under the artistic direction of Co-Executives Robert Kelley and Diane Cypher, SCBT continues to receive local and national recognition for outstanding creation and presentation of dance, and for fostering the training and talent of young dancers. SCBT dancers are chosen by an annual open audition to participate in Senior, Junior, and Petite performing companies. Students learn challenging creative and technical skills that prepare them for professional dance careers, with a high number of graduating dancers awarded scholarships to some of the most prestigious ballet institutions in the country.
Kelley and Cypher combine many years of experience as professional dancers, instructors, choreographers and directors. They received a Gail Rich Award for their collaborative contribution to the arts in Santa Cruz, and in 2010, SCBT was awarded the Aptos Chamber of Commerce Organization of the Year and Kelley was recognized as Artist of the Year by the Santa Cruz County Arts Commission. SCBT is known for being the only company throughout the entire Monterey and Santa Cruz Bay area that upholds Regional Dance America’s strict standards of excellence.
In 2002, SCBT moved its production of The Nutcracker to the Civic Auditorium, where the magical story and Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score have been brought to life even more vibrantly for dancers and audiences with the rare accompaniment of a 49-piece orchestra, conducted by Music Director Pamela Martin. SCBT is one of the few pre-professional ballet companies in the country to perform with a live orchestra. SCBT also continues to actively engage with the Santa Cruz artistic community by commissioning work with other local musicians and composers, including collaborations with the Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band and the Santa Cruz Symphony, now conducted by Maestro Daniel Stewart.
The Nutcracker will include over seventy local dancers demonstrating choreography by Kelley with beautiful agility and artistry. Younger dancers and audiences will have the opportunity to experience accomplished professionals from the dance world – each year the production features special guest appearances by SCBT alumni who perform in starring roles. The Nutcracker represents the spirit of the season and Santa Cruz County’s longstanding culture of arts through a live dance and music celebration enjoyed by all.
Click HERE to purchase tickets online.
Friday, December 16 at 8:00 pm
Saturday, December 17 at 1:00 pm and 4:30 pm
Sunday, December 18 at 1:00 pm and 4:30 pm
Special guest stars: Alumnus Gabriel Williams will dance all performances. Alumna Kaelyn Magee (dancer with Ballet Arizona) will star in Friday and Saturday performances. Alumna Lauryn Winterhalder (principal dancer with Sacramento Ballet) will dance Sunday performances.
Find out more about the Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre and The Studio at their website.