KEY WEST, Florida Keys — A classic holiday ballet, recast to showcase Key West’s tropical atmosphere, coral reef environment and seafaring heritage, is set for a seven-show run in the island city beginning Saturday, Dec. 15.
“Nutcracker Key West” is the creation of Key West resident Joyce Stahl, a classically trained dancer who performed “The Nutcracker” and other ballets with New Jersey’s American Repertory Ballet for 38 years.
Stahl’s production transforms the timeless story of young Clara’s visit to the land of the Sugarplum Fairy into an island fantasy featuring dancing snowy egrets, phosphorescent sea anemones, shimmering reef fish and even a conch shell, the symbol of the Florida Keys.
“Nutcracker Key West” stars a professional corps de ballet along with more than 50 Keys children and other local performers. The principal dancer is Natalia Ashikhmina, a former prima ballerina with the Russian National Ballet. The renowned dancer has toured three continents and is now with Kentucky’s Louisville Ballet.
The production incorporates expertly crafted sets and costumes designed by Stahl that are valued at more than $500,000.
Standout sequences include a dream battle where toy sailors protect Clara from the Rooster King, and a coral reef scene where Clara and her nutcracker-come-to-life are entertained by a dance troupe of children costumed as tumbling shrimp and colorful fish. The storyline also includes imagery drawn from the history of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha, shipwrecked off Key West in 1622.
Performances of “Nutcracker Key West” are to be staged at the Tennessee Williams Theatre, 5901 College Road on the campus of Florida Keys Community College.
Ticket prices begin at $20 per person. Tickets can be purchased online at www.keystix.comor by calling 305-295-7676.
Event information: www.nutcrackerkeywest.com or facebook.com/nutcracker.keywest
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywestor 1-800-FLA-KEYS
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