ORANGE CITY/ SIOUX CENTER —Lavish costumes. Magnificent scenery. Beautiful choreography.
Ballet Quad Cities — the longest-running resident professional ballet company in Iowa — is bringing their enchanting production of The Nutcracker to Orange City.
Tickets are going quickly. Tickets for reserved seating are available at the Orange City Chamber office and Sioux Center City offices. Advance tickets are $15 adult, $10 student. At the door, admission is $20 and $15.
The beloved holiday ballet will come to life with two critically acclaimed performances at the Unity Christian Knight Center on Dec. 19. The tour to northwest Iowa is made possible thanks to a collaboration between Orange City Arts and Sioux Center Arts.
From the moment curtains rise, audience members will find themselves lost in the holiday whimsy and fantasy of the stage.
“What sets our production apart is that our story is very easy to follow — people get engaged immediately,” said Joedy Cook, executive founding director of Ballet Quad Cities.
“Our costumes are all one-of-a-kind, designed specifically for us. We also have a lighting designer from the University of Iowa who has done nothing but light dance for 30 years,” Cook said. “The lighting is magnificent — we are able to turn the performance space into a real treat for everyone.”
More than 40 local dancers will take the stage as angels, soldiers, clowns and candy canes and join forces with two-dozen artists from Ballet Quad Cities to create an unforgettable performance.
“The northwest Iowa community has really responded well for the performance,” Cook said.
Local youth auditioned Sept. 26, and 46 were chosen to participate, from 10 area towns.
Instructors and choreographers of the local youth are Robin Van Es, Robin Suing and Michelle Holthaus. Becky Donahue assisted with auditions.
Van Es believes it’s a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for local dancers to take the stage in a professional production of such magnitude.
“I’m very excited for our dancers. It will be a memory that they never forget, and I trust it will be inspiring for them to perform with the professional dancers from Ballet Quad Cities,” Van Es said. “The last time we brought in a professional ballet company was 14 years ago! My students who were in that Nutcracker performance still reminisce about it.”
Students from Orange City Christian School and Sioux Center Community School will perform briefly as children’s choirs for The Nutcracker performances.
Land of Sweets
Ballet Quad Cities will perform the holiday classic twice at the Unity Christian Knight Center on Dec. 19 — a matinee at 1:30 p.m. and an evening show at 7:30 p.m.
Show organizers believe guests of all ages are in for a special holiday treat.
“This is the perfect performance for ages three to 92. It’s perfect for someone who has never seen ballet before, and perfect for families, too,” Cook said. “Anyone who attends will have a memory that’ll last forever.”
Van Es, who has been working with local dancers, agrees. “There is magic in The Nutcracker! I can’t think of any better word. The music, the costumes, the dancing and acting, and the special time of year simply make it a wonderful experience,” she said.
Attendees are invited to attend a conversation with the production’s choreographer at 6:45 p.m. in the Knight Center lobby before the evening performance. Following the matinee, guests are encouraged to stay for a question-and-answer session with members of Ballet Quad Cities.
“The Nutcracker is one of the most famous ballets today,” said Michelle Holthaus, local choreographer. “It is a story to inspire people to believe that things can happen. It is told with only motion — no words. So, it’s up to the audience to interpret the story. Each person may have a little different take.
“This is a great way to see and experience ballet at its finest. The story is timeless. This is also a rarity in Northwest Iowa. There are not many ballet companies here. Support the arts and experience the magic of the Christmas season.”
For more information, see balletquadcities.com and https://orangecityarts.net/orange-city-sioux-center-arts-councils-to-cosponsor-the-nutcracker/
For names of local dancers to participate with Ballet Quad Cities, click here.
The performance is part of Orange City Arts’ Beyond Onstage series.
The Nutcracker is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Iowa Arts Council, the Crane Group & General Mills Foundation.