Harmony School’s ‘Fantasy Nutcracker’ a great way to start a holiday tradition

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

MARBLE FALLS — Despite being one of the most produced ballets in the world, “The Nutcracker” is still “new” for many people. Sometimes the idea of attending a ballet can seem, well, a bit formal.

Fortunately, the dancers and staff at Harmony School of Creative Arts have tweaked the storyline a bit to add their own twists.

The nonprofit school’s “Fantasy Nutcracker” has become a holiday tradition in the Highland Lakes and also a great introduction to the world of ballet for audiences.[box]IF YOU GO
WHAT: Harmony School of Creative Arts’ “Fantasy Nutcracker”
WHEN: 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23 and 2 p.m. Nov. 24
WHERE: Auditorium at Marble Falls High School, 2101 Mustang Drive in Marble Falls
TICKETS: General admission is $12 in advance and $15 at the door for ages 13 and older and $5 in advance and $8 at the door for ages 4-12 and seniors 65 and older. Children 3 and younger are admitted free of charge. Reserved seating is $20 in advance and $22 at the door.
FOR MORE: Go to www.harmonyarts.org or call (830) 693-1791.[/box]

“‘Fantasy Nutcracker’ is designed for people who have never been to the ballet before,” said Kathleen VanBerg, the school’s artistic director. “In the first act, all the gifts come to life under the Christmas tree in this young girl’s dream. ‘The Fantasy Nutcracker,’ I think, really engages audiences who are new to ballet. And it’s a really good one for children.”

“Fantasy Nutcracker” takes the stage at the Marble Falls High School auditorium, 2101 Mustang Drive, on Nov. 23-24. Showtimes are 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23 and 2 p.m. Nov. 24. General admission is $12 in advance and $15 at the door for ages 13 and older and $5 in advance and $8 at the door for ages 4-12 and seniors 65 and older. Children 3 and younger are admitted free of charge.

Reserved seating is $20 in advance and $22 at the door.

Tickets are available at the Harmony School of Creative Arts, 1503 Mormon Mill Road, and H-E-B, 1503 RR 1431.

At the 2 p.m. show Nov. 23, VanBerg said a child can get in free with a paying adult by donating a gift for a youth or teenager. All the donations will go to the Christmas is for Kids program, which provides gifts to Highland Lakes children in need.

“Fantasy Nutcracker” follows the same basic storyline as “The Nutcracker” but adds and subtracts a few things to make it more child-friendly. During the first act, VanBerg said one of the gifts placed under the tree is a book of nursery rhymes. Out pops Mother Goose, who then goes on to introduce Little Bo Peep and her sheep.

This year, the production will feature something resembling a Chinese New Year’s parade dragon.

“It’s a very excellent ballet for children to watch,” VanBerg said.

This year, “Fantasy Nutcracker” is bringing in two guest artists from Ballet Austin: Ian Bethany and Grace Morton.

They’ll perform the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy (Morton) and the Cavalier (Bethany) during each show.

Landing two artists from Ballet Austin adds another dimension to the production. VanBerg said two professional dancers coming to the Highland Lakes to perform is not something that occurs every day.

While “Fantasy Nutcracker” takes the stage before Thanksgiving, it’s a great way to get in the Christmas spirit. For some people, performing in it or watching it has become a tradition. For others, this year could be a great time to join in the tradition.

“I love putting this ballet on,” VanBerg said. “It’s so much fun to watch. I think even if you’ve seen it each year or this is your first time, you’ll find something to love about it, if not the whole thing.”

Go to www.harmonyarts.org or call (830) 693-1791 for more information.

daniel@thepicayune.com