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'Nutcracker Suite in Modern Bare Feet': Tradition with a twist

'Nutcracker Suite in Modern Bare Feet': Tradition with a twist

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For an interesting contrast in styles, the Canyon Movement Company throws in the classical music of Peter Tchaikovsky with a cast of more than 75 dancers.

They use amusing props like hula hoops and free-hand stilts, new digital technology and updated choreography to enliven the holiday classic with "Nutcracker Suite in Modern Bare Feet."

Audiences here will have a chance to delight in this show again Dec. 7 and 8 on the expansive stage of the auditorium at Sinagua Middle School.

TWIST ON CLASSIC TALE

Billing it as a "21st-century Interpretation of the Holiday Classic," for nine years the company has delivered this stunning twist on a classic tale for the holidays.

"We always try to do something different, not only for the audiences but the dancers, as well," said Gina Darlington, the company director and the moving force behind the production each year.

Assisting Darlington are guest artists and choreographers, including assistant director Cori Wall, Canyon Dance Academy, Velocity Dance Company and Al Rakasaat.

Company dancers and choreographers include Darlington, Kristi Long, Sarah Thomas, Jodi James, Barbara Seckinger, Jessica Taylor and Cori Wall.

Additional choreographers include Juan Lopez, William McDonald, Nathanial Haviland and Carla Ambler.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY PRICES

This will be a particularly daunting production for Darlington.

"For the first time, I am dancing a lead role of the Snowqueen, as well as directing," she said.

The barefoot version of "Nutcracker" is very community-oriented, with free performances for 800 students on Friday, Nov. 30, and Wednesday, Dec. 5.

It is also very family-friendly.

"We kept our ticket prices the same as last year," Darlington said. "A family of four can attend for under $50."

A nonprofit organization, Canyon Movement Company includes a professional adult dance company that tours internationally, and a school of dance to train young dancers and give them opportunities to perform.

WELL-ORCHESTRATED SHOW

Beautiful backdrops of the San Francisco Peaks bring this holiday favorite home to Flagstaff and never fails to send folks home with the holiday spirit.

True to the "Nutcracker Ballet" original, the party is set at Clara's home, but as a departure, it's here in Flagstaff, where friends and family come to celebrate. Gifts are given, and Clara's Godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer (William McDonald, an actor from Theatrikos), gives her a beautiful Nutcracker doll. Clara's brother Fritz breaks the doll and Clara's heart.

Each year, the company has a new Clara and Nutcracker. This year, Ellie Williams is Clara and Cameron Boldin is Nutcracker. As Clara sleeps, her dream becomes a magical fantasy in the most beautiful place in the world where authentic dancers from all over the world perform for her and her life-size Nutcracker prince: Arabian dancers, Ukrainian Folk Dancers, Spanish Gypsy Flamenco, French street performers, and young Chinese dancers.

This journey from childhood to adulthood is traveled in a unique and interesting way in this extremely well-orchestrated family show.

Betsey Bruner can be reached at bbruner@azdailysun.com or 556-2255.

IF YOU GO ...

WHAT: Nutcracker Suite in Modern Bare Feet, presented by Canyon Movement Company

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Sinagua Middle School, 3950 E. Butler Ave.

TICKETS: In advance: $14/general, $9/child-student at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/292761, or at the door, $17/$12.

MORE INFO: Call 774-3937 for more information and tickets or check the website at www.canyonmovementcompany.org.

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