Elin Antaya, 13, plays a snowflake during the first act’s the snow scene. (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

Elin Antaya, 13, plays a snowflake during the first act’s the snow scene. (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

Juneau Dance Theatre rehearses for ‘The Nutcracker’

It’s time for a holiday classic.

Juneau Dance Theatre (JDT) the first weekend of December presents the ballet “The Nutcracker” at the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium. This holiday production will feature guest artists Yuka Iseda and Jermel Johnson, professional dancers from Pennsylvania Ballet, and almost 90 JDT students and adult volunteers. The performances will also feature new choreography and enhanced costumes, adding to the magic of this annual family favorite.

Iseda and Johnson will travel from Philadelphia to thrill audiences with their stellar technique and engaging stage presence.

“We’re excited to present world-renowned professional ballet dancers of the highest quality to our Juneau community,” said JDT artistic director Zachary Hench.

“The Nutcracker” features nearly 90 JDT students and adult volunteers, ranging in age from 5-72 years old. The four-performance run will feature three casts, showcasing the vast talent within the school and providing many opportunities for dancers to shine in soloist and principal roles.

On Dec. 1, prior to the start of public show times, JDT will present a free outreach performance for more than 900 students in the Juneau School District.

“The Nutcracker is such a magical experience for people of all ages and a wonderful introduction to dance,” said Hench. “Because of this annual outreach effort, children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a ballet will be seeing a professional quality production.”

The story of “The Nutcracker” follows the wondrous journey of young Clara, who receives a nutcracker as a gift at her family’s Christmas Eve party. Later that night, her nutcracker magically transforms into a handsome prince, who leads her through an enchanted forest and to the Land of Sweets.

The ballet is approximately one hour and 45 minutes, including one intermission.

Audience members who purchase tickets to the 2 p.m. performances of “The Nutcracker” on Saturday, Dec. 2 and Sunday, Dec. 3 can also attend a special ticketed event called the “Land of Sweets Tea and Tour,” which begins at 1 p.m. each day. For $15 per person, attendees enjoy a VIP line upon admission and priority seating for the performance. They will make festive crafts and listen to the story of “The Nutcracker,” enjoy tea and treats, and even step onstage for a photo opportunity with cast members.

The performances are at Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium Friday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 2 at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m.

The mission of Juneau Dance Theatre is to nurture self-discipline, confidence, mental and physical fitness and creativity through professional dance instruction and performance opportunities; to foster an appreciation of the art of dance in the Juneau community; and to develop artistic creativity and skills in both visual and performing arts through its annual Fine Arts Camp.

Look for a story and photos of Sitka’s Alaska-themed production of The Nutcracker in the Dec. 6 issue of the Capital City Weekly.

Zachary Hench’s Herr Drosselmeyer presents the nutcracker to boys during the party scene. (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

Zachary Hench’s Herr Drosselmeyer presents the nutcracker to boys during the party scene. (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

Megan Lujan, 14, as a mechanical doll for Herr Drosselmeyer’s entertainment for the children during the party scene. (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

Megan Lujan, 14, as a mechanical doll for Herr Drosselmeyer’s entertainment for the children during the party scene. (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

Artistic Director of the Juneau Dance Theater Zachary Hench, right, plays Clara’s mysterious godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer, who entertains everyone during the party scene with magic tricks. Here, children hold a magic scarf. (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

Artistic Director of the Juneau Dance Theater Zachary Hench, right, plays Clara’s mysterious godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer, who entertains everyone during the party scene with magic tricks. Here, children hold a magic scarf. (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

“Dancing is an interesting way to communicate between mind body and soul,” said this year’s snow queen, Anna McDowell, 17. (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

“Dancing is an interesting way to communicate between mind body and soul,” said this year’s snow queen, Anna McDowell, 17. (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

Kristina Parker, 12, plays Clara, the young heroine of the iconic ballet “The Nutcracker” in this year’s Juneau production. (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

Kristina Parker, 12, plays Clara, the young heroine of the iconic ballet “The Nutcracker” in this year’s Juneau production. (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

A scene from Juneau Dance Theatre’s performance of “The Nutcracker.” (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

A scene from Juneau Dance Theatre’s performance of “The Nutcracker.” (Erin Laughlin | For the Capital City Weekly)

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