By Jesse Bertel

As the holiday season approaches, the timeless enchantment of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” takes center stage. Presented by Canada’s renowned Ballet Victoria, this magical production features the participation of Prescott-area ballet students, adding a touch of community flair to the classic tale of dreams, magic and romance.

Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17, at the Jim and Linda Lee Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St. on the Yavapai College Prescott campus.

The Nutcracker, with its fairytale ending and festive atmosphere, has become an enduring holiday tradition. The story unfolds on Christmas Eve when young Clara receives a wooden nutcracker from her uncle. In the quiet of the night, as mice stir, Clara’s curiosity leads her to a magical transformation into the stature of a toy.

From that moment, her journey is filled with illusion and fantastical characters, creating a delightful and festive experience for audiences of all ages.

The production involves 29 dedicated local dancers. Coordination and rehearsal direction for this production are led by Mary Heller, Yavapai College professor of dance. The performance is a collaborative effort with local dance studios, Ballet Victoria academy and students from YC’s Performing Arts Department.

“They’re all from the six local quad-city dance studios in the area, all six,” Heller said. “It’s really a community opportunity for the dancers who made the audition to really get to know each other from other studios, that’s huge.”

The Nutcracker is one of the most common ballets that most dancers perform during their career.

“It’s usually considered the moneymaker as they call it for most companies, because people love it and they think they should go,” Heller said. “An expanded version came about last century, because it was really originally created in the late 1900s, when it really came to fruition from Tchaikovsky’s score in relationship to one of the original Russian choreographers.”

Ballet Victoria, known for its dramatic and technically demanding performances, has captivated audiences at the Jim and Linda Lee Performing Arts Center with past productions such as “Carmina Burana” and “The Voices of Dance.” Founded in 2002, the boutique professional ballet company, led by artistic and executive director Paul Destrooper, comprises 12 dancers and produces four annual productions. With nearly 100 new works in their repertoire, including 10 full-length ballets, Ballet Victoria continues to explore innovative territory under Destrooper’s guidance.

In addition to the performance at the college, some of the dancers will perform excerpts from the show during Acker Night at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, in Dance Studio 2 on the second floor of the Elks Performing Arts Center, 117 E. Gurley St.

Tickets for The Nutcracker featuring Ballet Victoria start at $29, with $10 youth tickets available for those 18 and younger. The Jim and Linda Lee Performing Arts Center Ticket Office, located on Yavapai College’s Prescott Campus, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. Additionally, the ticket office opens one hour before the performances.

For reservations or additional information, please contact 928-776-2000 or visit www.ycpac.com.

Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Facebook @ JesseBertel, email him at jbertel@prescottaz.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.

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