The Green Mountain Nutcracker, Vermont’s only interpretation of the holiday tale told with a local twist, returns to the Barre Opera House for two shows on Saturday, December 21 at 7pm and Sunday, December 22 at 2pm.
This familiar-made-fantastical rendition of the classic ballet, set in the 1970s in Vermont, delights audiences with its many local references, including a Maple Sugar Fairy instead of a Sugar Plum Fairy, Loggers instead of Russian dancers, Winter Birds instead of Tea, The North Wind and Leaves instead of Flowers, and Moose instead of Reindeer pulling Marie’s sleigh.
This one-of-a-kind production is now in its twelfth year and features an all-ages, 60-member cast of professional company dancers and local students, all-original choreography by Christine Harris, Avi Waring, and Natalie Wheeler, set to both Tchaikovsky’s familiar score and original music by Vermont musician, Colin McCaffrey, as well as a variety of locally made sets and costumes.
“The Green Mountain Nutcracker really is a celebration of what it is to be living in Vermont – the snow, the leaves, the community, the culture, the stacking wood,” said co-director, Avi Waring. “It’s an exalting of those qualities. Vermonters are hardworking people; dancers are hardworking people, and there’s joy in hard work. I think you feel that in our ‘Nutcracker.’”
On Christmas night, a young girl is transported into a world of magic and imagination when the gift of a wooden nutcracker doll, from the magician Drosselmeier, comes to life. After a joyful holiday party, the nutcracker prince escorts Marie through snowy Vermont forests and into his kingdom, the Land of the Sweets. The Maple Sugar Fairy welcomes the pair and conducts a cast of colorful characters who celebrate with delightful dances: loggers, shepherd and sheep, winter birds, the north wind and leaves, Arabian coffee, and more audience favorites.
The School & Company
Moving Light Dance was founded by Christine Harris in 2000. One ballet class of ten students held at the Plainfield Town Hall quickly grew into a popular school and company, now located in Montpelier, drawing scores of students and dancers from central Vermont and beyond.
The company presents two staged professional productions each year with casts ranging in age from four into the fifties. Many of the students from the school, which includes classes in ballet, modern and contemporary dance, grow up performing in these productions. The unique opportunity for children to perform and collaborate with adults in community productions, versus simply learning technique and showcasing skills at recitals, is reflective of the school’s philosophy (and the character of Vermont) of inclusion, hard work, and collaboration. The school and company is regionally known for its signature mix of innovative choreography and genres, creative interpretations of classic tales and ballets, and all-ages and -abilities casting.
“I started this school not knowing where this would take me, much less take so many others,” said Harris. “It’s truly a homegrown effort and has organically evolved into a full-scale school and professional company, with many dancers and attendees returning year after year. It’s been a joy to watch these children growing up in dance and to be a part of such a rich cultural experience.”
Join friends and family and create your own annual tradition at one of Vermont’s most cherished holiday events. Two performances only: Saturday, December 21 at 7pm; and Sunday, December 22 at 2pm. Tickets: $15-$25 or $18-$28 at the door. To order tickets, visit barreoperahouse.org or call (802) 476-8188. For additional information about Moving Light Dance, visit movinglightdance.com.