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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
It’s that time of year again when chilly weather returns, colorful decorations adorn houses, Christmas music is played almost everywhere and of course — presents.
But those aren’t the only traditions returning this holiday season.
“The Nutcracker Magical Christmas Ballet” is returning to the McAllen Performing Arts Center for its 31st annual North American tour.
The show will be held in partnership with the Deborah Case Dance Academy in McAllen, which held auditions for local dancers earlier this month. This year’s show will also display the talents of dancers from across the globe including Ukraine, Japan, Italy, Turkey and others.
Among the dancers are Ukrainian ballerinas Karyna Shatkovskaya, a gold medalist, and Elena Pechenyuk, an honored artist of Ukraine. The role of the Nutcracker prince will be performed by gold medalist Batur Buklu from Turkey and Rustem Imangaliyev from Kazakhstan.
This year’s production will incorporate new choreography that blends ballet with circus techniques including a Cyr Wheel artist who brings an “intriguing element to the performance,” according to a Talmi Entertainment news release.
This year’s show is the only production in which Act II will take place in the “Land of Peace and Harmony,” which will feature the acro-ballet adagio “Doves of Peace,” according to the release.
The “Doves of Peace” will feature two dancers who come together to form a large dove with a 20-foot wingspan that will help guide Clara and the Nutcracker prince.
That’s not the only addition to this year’s production, however.
The show will also feature a new character called The Herald, a spirit of the forest, who announces the arrival of the heroes and leads a celebration in Clara’s honor. The sequence will include 10-foot-tall puppets and dancing couples that symbolize the five great heritages of the world who will bestow special gifts upon Clara.
Each gift will represent “unique qualities” from the couples’ respective cultures, which will include wisdom for the Persian Elephant, strength for the Slavic Bear, courage for the Spanish Bull, honesty for the French Unicorn, and resilience for the Chinese Dragon.
“This delightful addition adds depth and richness to Clara’s journey and highlights the unity and diversity of the world around her,” the release stated.
For Dan Talmi, executive producer of Talmi Entertainment, since they are the only nationally touring Nutcracker production they hope to top each year’s shows by incorporating new talent and performances.
“The international scale of the production is truly unique. With Artistic Direction from the birthplace of classical ballet in Kyiv, Ukraine to rising ballet capitals around the world we have built a world class team,” said Talmi in the release. “There is a sense of pride and responsibility when it comes to this show. It has become a holiday tradition in households across the country and our team works year round to give audiences the best of everything — the best talent, production value, costumes — you name it.”
The show will be held at the McAllen Performing Arts Center on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. Tickets for the show can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com.