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Ballet Memphis selects local cast for Spokane Symphony's Nutcracker

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

For Immediate Release

Contact: Annie Matlow 464-7071

The nationally recognized Ballet Memphis returns to dance the Nutcracker Ballet with the Spokane Symphony and once again, over 135 local dancers recently auditioned for 70 roles in the production.  There will be four performances at the INB Performing Arts Center on Friday, Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 19, 2 p.m.


Ballet Memphis is a dynamic professional company named a national treasure of the cultural world by the Ford Foundation, that met the high level of artistic excellence require by the Spokane Symphony. Members of the ballet company were equally thrilled to dance with the Spokane Symphony. In addition, Janet Parke, Director of the BalletMemphisSchool and one of the choreographers for the Nutcracker, was please with the caliber of Spokane area dancers.


Dodie Askegard, director of Ballet Arts Studio, added that the Ballet Memphis was an incredible company to work with, saying: "They are so great with the kids, and really work with them, so they are part of the dance and not just extras.?


Askegard and Peggy Goodner Tan, also of the Ballet Arts Studio, are working with the young dancers who won the roles in the ballet. The dancers are from more than ten ballet studios and almost 40 schools from Cheney to Coeur d'Alene, from Freeman to Deer Park.


"Nutcracker is a fantastic opportunity for ballet students to perform with a ballet company, rubbing shoulders with professional dancers,? said Tan. "Our student dancers get the glorious experience of a full orchestra with a lovely and professional ballet company.  For over thirty years we have had top rate, professional ballet companies giving fine performances of The Nutcracker delighting Spokane audiences and inspiring young ballet students on and off stage.?


Local dancers in lead roles are Christopher Brown as Fritz; Terry Grizzell as Grandfather; and Mary Frances Gence as Grandmother.


Local students appearing in the first act during the 'Party Scene' are Cameron Angeleri, Hope Clark, Victoria Duke, Tucker Edwards, Mackenzie Fagras, Devante Goodman, Payton Graper, Noah Huang, Megan Meier, Brian Morris and Sydney Skinner.


Many students are used in the battle between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker. Roles include mice, danced by LaRena Adams, Caley Edwards, Julia Gmeiner and Molly Ryan as mice, with Sarah Seeberger playing the baby mouse. The Gingerbread men are danced by Elyse Herrera, Hailey Lister, Abigail Leclair and BreAnna Ray. The soldiers will be danced by Jessica Basta, Emily Fields, Ryann Fencl, Netsanet Kimsey, Marilee King, Sophia LaRue, Anissa Martinez, Mary Maystrovich, Brenna Mulvany, Anna Naddy, Emily Ovens, Vanessa Schultz, Kelsey Shaber, Kristen Wanke, Courtney Wendt and Megan Wood.


Advanced level students are cast as Angels in the opening of the second act. These are played by Maddie Brown, Elizabeth Mick, Storey Mok, Seneca Montgomery, Jenna Muller, Taylor Oddino, Isabella Santos, and Anna Swenson.


Later in the second act there are little lambs dancing with the shepherdesses, played by younger dancers Grace Basta, Abigayle Batkoff, Katie Hurd, and Delaney O'Connor.


The children coming out from under Mama Ginger's skirt to dance and tumble, called Polichinelle, are danced by Emily Brower, Annika Erickson, Sarah Fazendin, Anneliese Guerin, Moriah Heberer, Mariah Kroeze, Jenna Reid, Gabriella Sheley, Maddie Snyders, Kiana Thoreson, and Abbey Turpin.


The local cast will be rounded out by a group of supernumeraries played by Alyssa Bathurst, Becky Biddison , Hannah Chapman-Dutton, Elle Collins, Claire Davey, Leah Edwards, Maggie Gulliford, Vicklynn Massad, Abby Schornick, Rakel Tangvold, Kari Teigen, and Hannah Windhorn. "A supernumerary is a person who does not sing or dance in an opera or ballet production,? explained Tan.  "These people are on stage to 'dress' the stage.  In Nutcracker we have 12 ?supers', and they wear beautiful costumes and full stage make-up. They pose on stage during the second act to make the scene look fuller and more interesting.  These students have no rehearsals until dress rehearsal.  They get to watch the second act sitting on stage!  The second act is when the professionals show their skill and virtuosity, so it is a good opportunity for a dance student.? 


Tickets can be purchased from the Spokane Symphony by visiting the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox Box Office, by calling 509-624-1200, or at our website at www.spokanesymphony.org. Purchases may also be made through TicketsWest by calling 1-800-325-SEAT, or at any TicketsWest outlet.


Ticket prices range from $22 to $39 for adults and $14 for children 12 and under. 


Nutcracker is underwritten this year by STCU and Westcoast Entertainment.

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