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December 5, 2013

Winter conditions won’t prevent ‘Nutcracker’ from opening Friday

STILLWATER, Okla. — As the Winter Forest Fairy in “The Nutcracker Dream,” Carrie Tillet won’t have to look far for inspiration during the snow scene with freezing flakes filtering through the skies outside. And the snow will go on at 7 p.m. Friday in the Oklahoma State University Seretean Center, according to the Art of Dance artistic director Cylene Walker Willis.

Tillett is excited to perform on the campus stage. In the day time, she is a biochemistry and molecular biology major but she will turn into a dancing queen Friday night in the production which boasts a cast of more than 80 performers. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Tillet is graduating this year and the Art of Dance has been a big part of her life while studying at OSU.

“Dancing has been my life,” Tillet said. “And, this show really engages the audience. The directors use the classical but incorporate different styles so you won’t get bored and sleep through it.”

But that’s what the lead character, Clara, does through the second part of the production.

Shelby Eidson, Art of Dance director, said “The Nutcracker is a special tradition with a story of a young girl (Clara) who receives a Nutcracker doll as a gift from her grandfather at a party on Christmas Eve. Exhausted from the dancing and magic of the party, she falls asleep and into a dream world.”

The role of Clara will be danced by Katie O’Connell. She watches a nightmare with evil mice battling the Nutcracker Prince with his army of toy soldiers. Then her dream floats her into an enchanted forest where she meets a Snow Queen who turns into a Sugar Plum Fairy and takes her to the Land of Sweets where Princesses like “Tea,” “Coffee,” and “Marzipan” dance for her.   

Stillwater High School graduate and OSU student Shelby Holcomb will dance the role of a Russian Princess.

“It’s my first solo role, “ Holcomb said.

She said the experience has been fun, dancing in her first full-length ballet.

“It is a wonderful ballet enjoyed by millions of children and adults worldwide each year, Eidson said. “Our Nutcracker strives to strike the perfect balance of keeping in tradition with some of the most recognized classical pieces in ballet and infusing chosen pieces with cultural dances, contemporary dances, and twisting the story and characters to feature our dancers in the ballet.”

Tillet agrees saying “it’s just part of the Christmas experience.”  

Eidson said last year they sold out the theater so she feels she continues to reach her goal of exposing more young people to the art of dance.  


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