SATSUMA -- “The Nutcracker” came to life inside the Suma Crossing Theatre.
That’s where more than 80 dancers from across three parishes gathered to perform two showings of the timeless ballet, just in time for the holiday season, during a two-day run Dec. 1-2.
The Tri-Parish Ballet’s annual production included life-sized dancing dolls, a battle between the Nutcracker and the Rat King, a forest of snow, the Kingdom of Sweets, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Waltz of the Flowers, a collection of exotic dancers and more from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s beloved story.
The ballet featured local dancers from Livingston, East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes as well as guest performers from across the country.
Performing in the role of Maria Stahlbaum was Avery Felter, a sophomore at Live Oak High School who’s danced with the Odyssey Academy of Dance (OAD) for 12 years. This was her fourth time appearing in “The Nutcracker.”
Playing the titular role of the Nutcracker was Dillon Songy, a first-year criminal justice student at Baton Rouge Community College who has competed both regionally and nationally with OAD.
Other major roles were performed by Billy White (Mayor Stahlbaum), Wendy Guidry (Mrs. Stahlbaum), Bernard Loze (Uncle Drosselmeyer), Noah Nepveux (the Rat King), Katie LeBlanc (the Snow Fairy), Kayegan Campbell (ballerina doll) and Myra Schaffer (candy cane doll).
In the roles of Cavalier and the Sugar Plum Fairy, Guidry booked guest dancers Hayden Slaff and Giovanna Montoya, respectively.
Slaff began his ballet career at 14 years old at the New Jersey School of Dance and continues to be a freelance dancer while living in Washington D.C.
Montoya’s career goes back to Venezuela followed by the Miami City Ballet School, the latter under a full scholarship. Since then, she has performed with the Orlando Ballet, the Teresa Carreno Theatre, the Onley Ballet Theatre, and the Joffrey Concert Group, among other companies.
John Hutchinson, a local actor who has performed for McNeese State University and the Spotlight Theater Players, served as narrator.