Entertainment

‘Nutcracker’ brings Christmas magic to Saenger

The Gulf Coast Ballet Theatre will present ‘The Nutcracker Ballet’ on Saturday and Sunday at the Biloxi Saenger.
The Gulf Coast Ballet Theatre will present ‘The Nutcracker Ballet’ on Saturday and Sunday at the Biloxi Saenger.

The Gulf Coast Ballet Theatre will present “The Nutcracker” at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. at the Saenger Theatre in Biloxi.

“The Nutcracker” is a two-act ballet set to the music of Tchaikovsky. Since its premiere in 1892, the ballet has become a staple of the Christmas season.

The Coast production stars Daniel Sarabia and Liu Man Ting. Sarabia, who was born in Cuba, holds gold, silver and bronze medals in the International Ballet Competition of Havana. After defecting to the United States, he took silver at the 2005 New York International Ballet Competition. Ting has performed with Sarabia and was his partner of choice for the production.

Anna “Cat” Kendricks is one of the local standouts, and will play the role of Clara. Kendricks is a junior at Gulfport High School and is the reigning Miss Teen South Mississippi. Her experience includes performing in productions such as “Swan Lake” and attendance at the Saratoga Springs New York Dance Intensive. Kendricks has dance scholarship offers from the Joffrey Ballet and Troy University.

The supporting cast includes locals Allison Birmingham, Mary Howell English, Launa and Leona Craig, Leah Baptiste, Kassidy Ellis and Oksana Kojanova as well as Tyson Fields and Taylor Gregory. Also, the Tampa Classical Ballet will perform “Waltz of the Flowers” and “Snow.”

The show is choreographed by Stanislav Ivanov and directed by Vadim Burciu.

Elaine Kulick, director of Gulf Coast Ballet Theatre, said adult ballroom dancers will perform in the opening party scene, and more than 40 youth from across the Coast will play the roles of the Angels, Mice, Soldiers and Bon Bons.

Kulick said the sacrifice that goes into production includes many hours of individual practice and group rehearsals. However, the effort culminates in a longstanding staple of the Christmas season that sets a joyful mood for the holidays.

“The music is so delightful,” she said. “There’s something about it that reminds you of the Christmas season and puts you in the Christmas spirit. It’s always a fun event. Once you hear ‘The Nutcracker,’ it sticks with you for a while.”

‘The Nutcracker’

When and where: 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Saenger Theatre, 170 Reynoir St., Biloxi

$20 for adults and $10 for ages 10 and younger; available at the Gulf Coast School of Performing Arts or by calling 324-6296.

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