‘Nutcracker’ on Stage This Weekend

WHAT: Alameda Civic Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
WHEN: 2 p.m., Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 17-18
WHERE: Kofman Theater, 2200 Central Ave., Alameda
COST: $18-$28
TICKETS: 800-838-3006, 510-337-1929 or http://alamedanutcracker.com, https://www.goldstar.com/

For the seventh year in a row, Alameda Civic Ballet presents “The Nutcracker” ballet at the Kofman Theatre at 2 p.m. on December 17 and 18. The roles of the Snow Queen and King will be performed by Nicki and Ethan White, who were finalists in the CBS show “Live to Dance” with Paula Abdul and are now with White Tree Fine Arts.

“This is a family favorite,” said Abra Rudisill, artistic director of the Alameda Civic Ballet, in an interview in early December, noting that the cast includes about 150 performers (who range from age 4 to about 65).

Alameda’s production is staged by Rudisill, an Alameda resident who started Alameda Civic Ballet in 2003. She performed for about 20 years as a prima ballerina and ballet mistress with the Oakland Ballet. “The Nutcracker,” she says, is an ideal way for young dancers to work with professionals.

“Each year, we change some of the lead performers, but we also try to give the show some continuity,” said Rudisill. “We always build on the previous year’s production with updated choreography, costumes and more, so that every year there is something different about the show.”

The role of Clara is being performed by Alameda resident and Alameda High School student Isabel Saxty, as well as by Lili Pigott, a student at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland who lives in Alameda. Alamedan Cedric Murphy will take the stage as Fritz.

In addition to including most students who take classes at the Alameda Ballet Academy, the show also features some performers who study dance in other parts of the Bay Area. About a dozen adults from Alameda Vintage Dancers will also participate in the production, under the direction of Denise Brady.

Along with the Whites, other professional dancers in Alameda’s 2011 performance of “The Nutcracker” include Oliver Freeston as the Nutcracker Prince and Toy Soldier, and Jackie McConnell as the Sugar Plum Fairy; both are members of Company C in Walnut Creek. Also performing in the production are professional guest artists Robert Dekkers as the Sugar Plum Cavalier, as well as David Henry and Roy Gan.

Some local organizations supporting the Alameda Civic Ballet production include Tucker’s Ice Cream , as well as Alameda Theatre and Cineplex, Alameda South Shore Center and the Alameda County Arts Commission. (Tucker’s is sponsoring the Sugar Plum Parties and is also hosting a “name that flavor” contest, which provides free tickets to some winners.)

Tickets are available online and before the performance.

Janet Levaux