11-21-12-nutcracker.gifBallet has been delighting audiences for centuries; it was first developed in the Italian Renaissance in the 15th century. Ballet is an art form renowned for the grace and beauty that its performers emanate after years of intense training. This December, audiences will have a chance to enjoy the incredibly skilled dancers from the North Carolina State Ballet as they perform the traditional Christmas tale, The Nutcracker.

Fayetteville’s own Charlotte Blume, the artistic director for the North Carolina State Ballet, will choreograph The Nutcracker, the traditional two act and three scene Christmas ballet. Blume has been teaching and performing in North Carolina for more than 40 years. She is the principal teacher and choreographer of The Charlotte Blume School of Dance. Her work here has included such noteworthy productions as Raymonda, Painting of Degas and Swan Lake, which is annually preformed in the spring by her students.

As a teacher, Blume loves the challenge of developing new talent and keeping tradition in tact while bringing newness to the performance each year.

“I try to find talent that suits the part in each production and develop them into the part. It is a challenge because we try to keep the level of choreography professional. The dancers have to really come up to the challenge — and I like that,” said Blume. “Being a part of this performance each year gives me an opportunity to refresh the show every season. There is always something different, so people are getting a fresh look each year, which is important because we have a big repeat audience. Whenever people come to see this, they will see a refreshed look or see something they haven’t seen before.”

This year The Nutcracker consists of a cast of 65 dancers and actors and features four international guest artists. The fi rst guest artist, Gabor Kapin, hails from Budapest, Hungary. He is a principal dancer for the N.C. State Ballet, and will perform the role of “Cavalier.” Kapin was trained at the Hungarian Dance Academy, but he is hardly a stranger to the North Carolina stage, as this will be his third performance with the N.C. State Ballet. Sokvannara Sar is a dancer from Cambodia, and will share the role of “Cavalier.” He was trained at the School of American Ballet in New York, but is also well versed in Khmer, a traditional Cambodian dance. He has worked as a soloist in the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and he is the subject of a documentary entitled Dancing Across Borders.

Playing “The Sugar Plum Fairy” for her third season is Alicia Fabry who was raised in France. Fabry has studied ballet at the English National Ballet School, which is located in London. She has also performed with the Ballet Chicago Studio Company. Fabry will share the role with Margret Severin-Hansen who studied dance at Huntington School of Ballet in her home town of Huntington, Long Island. Hansen also studied ballet with the Royal Danish Ballet for six weeks. She has been a member of the Carolina Ballet since 1998.

The Nutcracker will be performed on December 2 ,8 and 9 at the Crown Coliseum at 3 p.m. Purchase tickets online at crowncoliseum.com. Tickets cost $16 and military ID Card holders receive a $2 discount. They can also be purchased through the Crown Center Theatre Box Office, which is located at 1960 Coliseum Dr. Call (910) 323-5088 for more information.

Photo: Alicia Fabry dances the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker.

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