Young dancers from Wilson County chosen for Nashville’s Nutcracker

Staff Reports • Updated Dec 2, 2017 at 8:00 AM

NASHVILLE – Nashville Ballet selected 12 dancers from Wilson County to perform in the youth cast for Nashville’s Nutcracker: Celebrating 10 Years from Saturday through Dec. 23 at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Jackson Hall. 

This year’s youth cast marks the organization’s largest to date, with 296 dancers from School of Nashville Ballet and the community at large performing alongside Nashville Ballet and the Nashville Symphony in the local holiday favorite.

Nashville’s Nutcracker will feature young dancers from Wilson County:

• Mariana Campos, daughter of Rocio Campos, as a lamb.

• Ava Elizabeth Crook, daughter of Kelley and Scott Crook, as a baby mouse.

• Olivia Dugdale, daughter of Angela Wilsdorf, as a medium mouse.

• Payton Engelhardt, daughter of Emily and Tony Nowicki, as a Native American soldier.

• Jordyn Jones, daguther of Joi Hamilton Jones and Gregory Jones, as a garden fairy.

• Jaymie Loidolt, daughter of Colleen and Russ Loidolt, as a bon bon.

• Myah Patterson, daughter of Vickie Patterson, as a garden fairy.

• Makayla Trego, daughter of Misty Trego and Drew Johnson, as a cavalry member.

• Embree Unick, daughter of Jessica Nyce and Chris Unick, as a party girl.

• Elianah Vanderschoot, daughter of Serenity and Matthew Vanderschoot, as a bon bon.

• Rosa Villagran, daughter of Olga Cordon, as a garden fairy.

• Stephanie Williams, daughter of Brigitte and Artis Williams, as a cavalry member.

This year’s Nashville’s Nutcracker youth cast members were selected from community-wide open auditions. Members of the youth cast come from 14 counties throughout Middle Tennessee and Kentucky, including Cheatham, Christian, Davidson, Decatur, DeKalb, Hopkins, Humphreys, Maury, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson. They will perform alongside all 54 members of Nashville Ballet’s professional dance company and second company and 60 members of the Grammy award-winning Nashville Symphony performing Tchaikovsky’s celebrated score.

 “We’ve had more than 1,000 young dancers in the Nashville’s Nutcracker youth cast since the production’s debut 10 years ago,” said Nashville Ballet artistic director and CEO Paul Vasterling. “The size of the youth cast has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, so this year we’re debuting a brand-new role, the dancing bear cavalry, which allows us to welcome even more young dancers on stage.”

In addition to the debut of the new youth cast role, Nashville Ballet will celebrate 10 years of Nashville’s Nutcracker with more all-new elements – including snow falling on the audience during the iconic snow scene. Nashville Ballet premiered the Nutcracker in 1989, but the production was reinvented as Nashville’s Nutcracker in 2008 with a unique concept incorporating Nashville’s vibrant past along with new choreography, sets, costumes and on-stage magic tricks. Since then, Vasterling’s original spin on the classic has cemented its place as one of Music City’s most beloved holiday traditions.

Beginning at the 1897 Centennial Exposition in Nashville, Clara and her Uncle Drosselmeyer meet a colorful cast of characters from faraway lands. When Uncle Drosselmeyer gifts Clara with a wooden Nutcracker on Christmas Eve, the toy magically transforms to life as a handsome prince and leads her through a remarkable adventure. Clara visits everyone from the Snow Queen to the Sugar Plum Fairy, including the spellbinding characters she met at the Exposition. When Clara finally returns home, the audience is left to decide if it was all just a dream – or not.

Nashville’s Nutcracker is presented by 21c Museum Hotel Nashville, Google Fiber and R.J. Young. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville, by phone at 615-782-4040 or at nashvilleballet.com. A complete performance schedule and more information can be found at nashvilleballet.com/nashvilles-nutcracker-2017.

Nashville Ballet is the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee. Nashville Ballet presents a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers, including original works by Vasterling. Nashville Ballet and the second company, NB2 – a pre-professional training company – provide more than 70,000 arts experiences to adults and children annually through season performances and its community engagement programming. Curriculum-based community engagement programs bring dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries and public elementary, middle and high schools across the state. School of Nashville Ballet brings world-class dance instruction to students 2-70 years old.

Nashville Ballet receives public funding from Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Contributions from local, regional and national institutional funders and community partners, as well as hundreds of generous individuals, provide ongoing support of Nashville Ballet’s mission-critical programs.

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