Tuscaloosa’s Nutcracker: A Holiday Tradition in West Alabama
Tuscaloosa Community Dancers’ (TCD) annual performances of The Nutcracker are a true community treasure. Every year, dancers from West Alabama and the surrounding area present the magical story of Clara, a little girl whose uncle, the mysterious Herr Drosselmeyer, gives her a nutcracker doll at her family’s Christmas Eve party that turns into a prince. A dramatic ball with the Mouse King and his army ensues. Together Clara and her victorious prince travel on a mysterious journey through an enchanted forest to the Land of the Sweets, where they are greeted by the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy, who presents dancing confectionary delights for Clara’s entertainment. Set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, various versions of The Nutcracker have been performed throughout the world since 1892. TCD has presented The Nutcracker in Tuscaloosa for over thirty years.
TCD is welcoming a new Artistic Director this year. Alden Phillips will be directing the performance this year and TCD is very excited to have her return to The Nutcracker as director. Alden is a Tuscaloosa native and began dancing in The Nutcracker at the age of eight. She has extensive dance training including a Bachelors in Fine Arts from the State University of New York Conservatory of Dance at Purchase where she graduated summa cum laude. Alden has also performed professionally at New York Live Arts for two seasons with the Purchase Dance Company. She has also trained with the San Francisco Conservatory and Impulstanz International Dance Festival in Vienna Austria. In 2013 she was awarded the Druid Arts Award for Dance Artist of the year. After touring professionally, Alden recently moved back to Alabama to pursue her passion of teaching and coaching dance where she is currently an instructor at the Jackie O’Neal School of Dance. Alden is excited to be back in Tuscaloosa and working with Tuscaloosa Community Dancers, an organization that meant so much to her as a young dancer.
TCD is also thrilled to welcome three new professional dancers to this year’s show. Russell Janzen will be performing in the role of the Cavalier. Mr. Janzen is a native of Bridgeport, Connecticut where he trained at The Rock School in Philadelphia. Through his extensive dance training he became an apprentice with the New York City Ballet in 2008 and has enjoyed a lengthy career. He was recently promoted from Soloist to Principal with the New York City Ballet. Savannah Lowery will be dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Ms. Lowery is a native of Florida and is a former student of the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet. She has been a member of the New York City Ballet since 2002 where she performs as a Soloist. Joshua Dwyre will be performing the role of Drosselmeyer.
Mr. Dwyre is a native of Colorado and has trained extensively including gaining his Bachelors in Fine Arts from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. He is now teaching full time at Boutique Dance Academy in Castle Rock, Colorado. He is also a member the Hannah Kahn Dance Company where he continues to teach and perform throughout the country.
Also featured this year is Liza Grace Cole, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Lewis Cole, who will perform the role of Clara. Her mischievous little brother Fritz will be performed by Kennedy Duffy, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. John Duffy. A host of talented young local dancers and performers will also be helping bring this magical story to life. Period costumes, and many colorful characters make this performance a truly wonderful artistic expression of this classic ballet.
Performances will run from December 7th through December 10th at the historic Bama Theater in downtown Tuscaloosa. Last year’s hugely successful “Breakfast with The Nutcracker” will be held again this year before the morning performance on Saturday, December 9th. The cost for this event will be $7.00 for ticket holders, and it begins at 8:45. Here guests will be able to mix and mingle with the dancers who will be in full costume and available for photographs. Tickets for any of the performances may be purchased online at www.tututix.com, If you would like more information about how your child can participate in TCD or The Nutcracker in the future please visit www.tuscaloosadancers.com.
What: Tuscaloosa Community Dancer’s Nutcracker
When: 12/7 and 12/8 at 7:00 p.m. 12/9 at 10:00 a.m. (“Breakfast with the Nutcracker” begins at 8:45 a.m. This is a separate activity and ticket holders can purchase tickets at the box office. Admission for each person eating breakfast is $7. Performance begins immediately after at 10:00 a.m.) 12/10 at 2:00 p.m.
Where: Bama Theatre, Tuscaloosa
Tickets: TCD Office: 205-752-4220 or www.tututix.com