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The Nutcracker’ finds home at Ohio Theatre

This holiday season, BalletMet Columbus is offering a chance to escape to a magical place where toy soldiers come to life and visions of sugar plums dance in “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 11 through 23 at the Ohio Theatre.

For more than 30 years, “The Nutcracker” has been a Columbus tradition and this year’s enchanting event is filled with the accustomed grandeur of seasons past.

This year’s ballet is produced by BalletMet Artistic Director Gerard Charles and theater artist Robert Post. It features 25 professional dancers from BalletMet, four trainees of the company and 148 Dance Academy students, according to BalletMet’s press release.

“My aim with BalletMet’s production is to keep ‘The Nutcracker’ an entertaining and special event that is both fresh and rekindles a warm nostalgia,” Charles said in the release.

From the 16-foot Christmas tree that grows throughout the performance, to the five pounds of artificial snow that falls in Act I, the audience is sure to be in for an entertaining time.

“We have some really beautiful scenery and the party scene is very lavish,” said Annie Mallonee, who is in her sixth season as a full-company dancer with BalletMet. “There’s a big tree that glows and there is a snow scene that is just beautiful.”

Mallonee has been dancing more than 20 years and is thrilled to share the role of grown up Clara in this year’s production.

She has always enjoyed giving her heart to the audience when she dances and transferring her feelings to them while she performs. Although she enjoys a variety of scenes, she is looking forward most to the scene when Clara performs a dance with the Nutcracker Prince for the first time.

“I think people should come see the show because it is such a wonderful holiday tradition,” Mallonee said. “I think the Ohio Theatre is absolutely gorgeous so it is very nice to hold it in that setting as well. The music is so beautiful and then with the dancing on top of that just it makes it very magical and is something that everyone can enjoy.”

Also, theatergoers can get into the spirit of the holidays by participating in “Feed the Nutcracker, Feed Columbus.” In partnership with Kroger, BalletMet will be collecting food donations at the shows to benefit the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, which distributes to more than 500 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, after-school programs and senior housing sites across central and eastern Ohio, according to www.midohiofoodbank.org.

There will be 14 performances between Dec. 11 and 23 and tickets start at $29. Tickets can be purchased through CAPA, Ticketmaster or balletmet.org. Students with a BuckID can purchase $15 Student Rush tickets at the theater two hours prior to show time.

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