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Show has shortened 'Nutcracker,' holiday songs and dances

To celebrate its 14th year as Pasco County's only independent classical ballet troupe, Expressions, the Dance Company, is doing something different for its holiday show. • Since 1997, the organization has done the full-length version of the Nutcracker Ballet. • This year, the dancers are doing a shortened version of the ballet as the first act of the show, with the second act being a series of holiday-themed dances and music.

"We thought we'd do something different this year," said Gillian Davis, founder of the troupe and owner of Port Richey Dance Time, which is one of several dance studios with students in the show. "We've enjoyed it."

As the shortened Nutcracker is being danced, a narrator will tell the story. The dance will still open with a big party — only the party will not be as long as in the original, Ms. Davis said.

At the party, young Clara (Katie Miesner, 13) receives a nutcracker from her gruff Uncle Drosselmeier (Eriberto Jimenez), but her naughty brother immediately grabs it and breaks it.

That night, Clara sneaks downstairs to check on her nutcracker, where she encounters the fierce Rat King (Margarita Diamantopulos). She is rescued by the Nutcracker (Kerry Nel Davis), who does battle with the Rat King, aided by his Mice.

From there, Clara is whisked to a magic land, where she sees the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy (Bella Calafiura) and her Cavalier (Jimenez) dance both solos and together. She also sees the lovely dancing flowers whirl around her in the Waltz of the Flowers.

Jimenez is a soloist with the International Ballet Company (Miami), Miami Hispanic Ballet and Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. He is also the assistant director and coordinator for the International Ballet Festival of Miami and president of the board for the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami.

He has danced the role of Cavalier with Expressions since 2002.

Miss Calafiura, who was the only dancer from the United States eligible to take part in the International Adeline Genee Ballet Competition held in Singapore in 2009, danced Sugar Plum Fairy in the 2009 indoors production and also in the 2008 presentation at Sims Park. She danced the role of Dew Drop Fairy in the indoor version in 2008.

The second half of the ballet features dancers from age 5 through 17 in The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, a character dance; Walking in the Air, a lyrical dance; Mr. Grinch, a musical theater dance; Joyful Children, a ballet; an acrobatic dance; Santa's Elves, a character ballet with Christmas elves and fairies; and a tap dance done to Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

The troupe will perform the Nutcracker Ballet portion of the show for schoolkids in the day and expand the show for the evening performance, Ms. Davis said.

Ms. Davis choreographed the Nutcracker portion of the show and was joined by her daughter Kerry Nel Davis in choreographing the second part of the show.

>>if you go

Christmas Expressions

What: Christmas Expressions

Where: Center for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey

When: 7 p.m. Dec. 17

Tickets: $15 adults, $12 ages 65 and older and 10 and younger. For tickets, call (727) 842-8175, visit Port Richey Dance Time, 6464 Ridge Road in Port Richey, or buy at the door.

Show has shortened 'Nutcracker,' holiday songs and dances 12/09/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 9, 2010 4:45pm]

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