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‘The Nutcracker’ lives again

Samantha Bunker, Entertainment Writer
December 12, 2012
Filed under Entertainment, Top Stories

Snow falls outside the Stahlbaum’s home as family members celebrate the Christmas season around a beautiful Christmas tree. Among the guests is a mysterious man with toys for the young boys and girls of the house. Clara, the young girl, receives a nutcracker. Her brothers fight with her over it, and eventually, his arm is broken. The old man helps Clara fix it and sends her to bed as the clock chimes.

The “Nutcracker Ballet” brought this story to life at the the Meyer Theater for its seventh annual performance, presented by the Northeastern Wisconsin Dance Organization Dec. 7 to 9. The show’s more than 100 local dancers came from 13 different dance studios, including the Green Bay School of Dance, UW-Green Bay and St. Norbert College. Members of the Green Bay “Nutcracker Ballet” also welcomed featured artists of the Carolina Ballet for seven years.

“The most interesting and beautiful thing about each year is that we usually see the dancers build in their roles,” said Timothy Josephs, artistic director of NEWDO. “For instance, last year the girl who played Clara was a little mouse in the battle scene many years ago.”

The magical tale is told from Clara’s perspective after she receives the Nutcracker. After the guests go home and all the children are in bed, Clara falls asleep underneath the glowing Christmas tree.

The ballet transforms into a dream and the Nutcracker Prince comes to life and defeats an army of mice and the Mouse King with the help of Clara. The Nutcracker then guides Clara through her dream world to view various dances and performances.

Dancers bring scenes of sugar plums and magical fairies to life with motions of classical ballet and fantasy.  With the behind-the-scenes help of Jeff Entwistle, UWGB theatre professor, and costumes by Lori Maher of Tutus Divine ballet costume shop, the performance recreates the timeless story of the “Nutcracker Ballet.”

Artists from the Carolina Ballet in the performance this year included Randi Osetek, Dameon Nagel and Yevgeny Shlapko.

After growing up in Chicago and Green Bay, Randi Osetek attended the School of American Ballet in New York as well as the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. Osetek plays the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy and performs one of the most recognized dance sequences in the show.

Playing alongside Osetek, Dameon Nagel plays the part of Cavalier in the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”  Originally from Canada, Nagel studied dance at the National Ballet School in Toronto and Cleveland San Jose Ballet.  He is one of the founding members of the Carolina Ballet.

Also featured in the Green Bay Nutcracker Ballet, Yevgeny Shlapko plays the Nutcracker Prince. Born in Ukraine and raised in Brooklyn, Shlapko attended the School of American Ballet in New York before coming to the Carolina Ballet.

“The professionals that come in are in a developmental stage of their career where they’re getting better and improving every year,” Josephs said. “Even though they were wonderful and fabulous seven years ago, they’re even better than the year before.”

Look for upcoming showcases at the Meyer Theatre on their website, meyertheatre.org.