Once again, the New Paltz Ballet Theatre (NPBT) presents the company’s 15th annual rendition of the Christmas classic The Nutcracker, with its fantasialike characters invading the sweet dreams of a little girl named Clara. As giant fighting mice and life-sized toy soldiers and all manner of fairies take the stage at the Bardavon Opera House, audiences young and old will be dazzled by the magic of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s imaginative tale set to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a.
It all happens this weekend on Saturday, December 10 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, December 11 at 3 p.m. A ballet in two acts, The Nutcracker is “a dreamlike journey through the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets,” with costumes and scenery designed by Ray Delle Robbins of Houston Ballet and Houston’s Theatre under the Stars.
New Paltz Ballet Theatre’s artistic co-directors Peter Naumann and Lisa Naumann have acquired the awesome talents of two world-renowned dancers from the New York City Ballet (NYCB) for this year’s production: Ask la Cour and Teresa Reichlen. La Cour, from Denmark, began his dance training at the age of nine at the Royal Danish Ballet School, where he studied with Niels Balle, Adam Lüders and Colleen Neary. He joined the Royal Danish Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in 2000, where he performed featured roles in August Bournonville’s Napoli, John Cranko’s Onegin, Peter Martins’ Hallelujah Junction and Swan Lake, John Neumeier’s Romeo and Juliet, Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker and Lila York’s Concerto in Pieces. In 2002, the award-winning dancer came to New York City and was promoted to the rank of soloist in NYCB in May 2005.
Reichlen, a native of Virginia, began her dance training at the age of ten at the Russell School of Ballet with Thomas and Illona Russell, Mary Rogers and Margaret McGarry. In 1999, she studied at the summer program of the School of American Ballet (the official school of the New York City Ballet), and entered full-time in the fall of the same year. In October 2000, Reichlen became an apprentice with NYCB, and in October 2001 joined the company as a member of the corps de ballet. In January 2005, she was promoted to the rank of soloist and became a principal dancer in October 2009. Reichlen is the Janice Levin Dancer Honoree for 2004/05. Both la Cour (playing the Cavalier) and Reichlen (as the Sugar Plum Fairy) have performed in major works by internationally acclaimed choreographers George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins.
Sponsored by Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, this year’s production of The Nutcracker is staged and choreographed by the Naumanns, and involves more than 70 dancers.
Tickets cost $28 for adults, $25 for students and seniors and $23 for Bardavon members, and are available at the Bardavon box office at (845) 473-2072 or through TicketMaster at (800) 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com. NPBT is a not-for-profit dance company offering ballet instruction and creative movement in a caring environment for ages 3 through adult. For further information visit www.npsballet.com or call (845) 255-0044.