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November 12, 2010 Arts and Entertainment

San Diego Ballet & BSO Perform 'Nutcracker'

From: Billings Symphony Orchestra
Billings Symphony Orchestra and San Diego Ballet, along with more than 100 local dancers and singers, perform this timeless holiday classic tale of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince

Billings, MT
---The Billings Symphony invites everyone to join them on an enchanting journey through a landscape of Yuletide dreams in a classic production of “Nutcracker,” performed by San Diego Ballet, under the artistic direction of Robin Sherertz Morgan, and the Billings Symphony Orchestra (BSO), conducted by BSO&C Music Director Anne Harrigan.  On Thanksgiving weekend, more than 100 local children will join the highly respected San Diego Ballet and the BSO for two performances at the Alberta Bair Theater, with treats handed out following both performances.

With its signature theatrics and beloved choreography, the San Diego Ballet delivers a light-hearted interpretation of this holiday classic that is expressive and dramatic. Principal dancers are seasoned professionals who bring strong brilliant technique, expressive artistry and high energy to this well-loved ballet.  Audiences easily connect with their inspired performances set to Peter Tchaikovsky’s beloved score performed live by the orchestra in the pit below the stage.

Principal dancer Abby Avery who dances as the Sugarplum Fairy is “radiant in her celesta variation, skittering en pointe and pushing the air with her expressive hands. Her turns and extensions are flawless thanks to her confident partner,” raves a review on “Their pas de deux includes soaring overhead lifts and several plunging fish dives that are both playful and romantic.”

The roles of local dancers, under the direction of Betty Loos and Jana Stockton, directors of The Classical School of Ballet, have been expanded in this new production.  Kierra Egger will dance the role of Clara in the Saturday performance and Tippy Dringman will dance the role of Clara in the Sunday performance. Kennedy Brown dances the role of Fritz in both performances.

In addition to 70+ local dancers cast in the ballet, more than 50 vibrant young vocalists with the Rimrock Opera Chorus for Kids (ROCK), under the direction of Erin Small and Quentin Staton, sing during the snow scene.

Families will delight in the classic version of this “must-experience” holiday event.  (“Must-see” simply doesn’t capture the LIVE music, high energy of such a talented cast, and special stage effects.)  And it makes a fabulous date- night to kick off the holiday season! While many people have seen The Nutcracker, they haven’t seen THIS Nutcracker!

This annual event would not be possible without the generous support of Stockman Bank and Billings Gazette Communications, as well as funds from, the Montana Cultural Trust, the Montana Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets are on sale now at the Alberta Bair Theater Box Office, 256-6052, or online at  Prices range from $20 to $45 for adult tickets. Tickets for children 12 and younger range from $10 to $45 (no discount for loge seating).

About San Diego Ballet:  San Diego Ballet was founded in 1990 by Robin Sherertz Morgan. From the world premieres of acclaimed choreographer Javier Velasco to family-friendly Nutcracker, from Mambo to Tchaikovsky to World Beat to Shakespeare, San Diego Ballet offers something for everyone.

About Robin sherertz Morgan, artistic director: A San Diego native, Ms. Morgan began her dancing career with the original San Diego Ballet Company under the guidance of Richard Carter and Nancy Johnson. In 1971, having been awarded a full Ford Foundation Scholarship to the School of American Ballet, she trained under such notables as Alexandra Danilova, Stanley Williams, Muriel Stuart and others.  She later danced with the New York City Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine, toured with Suki Schorer’s New York Lecture Ensemble, and performed in the Virgin Islands with Helgi Tomasson and Kay Mazzo.

Since 1986, Ms. Morgan has been developing her reputation in San Diego, first as a notable dancer and later as a teacher.  She has served on the faculty of the School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Chula Vista, as Rehearsal Assistant for San Francisco Ballet’s San Diego productions of Nutcracker, SwanLake and Sleeping Beauty, and as an officer for the San Diego Dance Alliance.

Ms. Morgan choreographed a ballet piece for the NBC-TV movie “Jonathan, the Boy Nobody Wanted.” She founded the San Diego School of Ballet in 1989 and has been building on successful performances and talented dancers since then. San Diego Ballet, the resident company of the San Diego School of Ballet, was formed in 1991.

About BillingsSchool of Classical Ballet:
Betty Loos, Director:  Betty Loos directed her own school for six years before co-founding School of Classical Ballet with partner Jana Stockton.  Betty received her early training from June Austin and with Hungarian teachers Ilkio Perjessy and Angela McAlpin in Billings.  She continued her training at the University of Utah under William Christiansen and at the Teacher’s Training Program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.  She has furthered her training with numerous intensive workshops with teachers from the Royal Danish Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, David Howard and was awarded a teacher’s fellowship to attend the National Ballet of Canada.  She has also trained in modern with dancer/choreographers Ririe Woodbury, Mark Morris, Bill T. Jones, Doug Varone and dancers from the Cunningham Co.  She performed at the Universities of Utah, Washington and Montana.

Jana Stockton, Younger Children’s Program Director / Primary Instructor: 
Jana Stockton is a co-founder of School of Classical Ballet.  She is the younger children’s program director and primary instructor.  Jana studied under June Austin and extensively with Hungarian teachers Ildiko Perjessy and Angela McAlpin.  She furthered her studies through numerous workshops including summer intensive at the University of Utah where she studied with the world renowned children’s teacher Virginia Tanner.

About the Rimrock Opera Chorus for Kids (ROCK):  The Rimrock Opera Chorus for Kids (ROCK) is a select choral program founded by the Rimrock Opera in 2004. The ROCK program includes three choirs with singers in grades 1-12, which rehearse and perform throughout the school year.  ROCK has had the honor of performing at such events as the Big Sky State Games, the MMTA convention, Family Concerts with the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale and on the stage of the Alberta Bair for Rimrock Opera productions of Hansel & Gretel, La bohème, Die Fledermaus and Carmen.  Two choirs are represented in the 2010 Nutcracker performances.  The Dolce Choir, comprised of 1st-3rd grade singers, is under the direction of Erin Small.  The Cantabile Choir, directed by Quentin Staton, is made up of 4th-8th grade singers.  Amy Logan serves as ROCK Artistic Director and conductor of the Bel Canto Choir, ROCK’s High School ensemble.

Date and Time : Saturday, November 27, 7:00 p.m., and Sunday, November 28, 2:00 p.m.

Venue : Alberta Bair Theater

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