Out & About

November 28, 2013

Meet up in the Land of the Sweets

North Country Ballet Ensemble presents 'The Nutcracker'

PLATTSBURGH — The North Country Ballet Ensemble whips up “The Nutcracker” for the 28th season.

Magnificent makeovers of integral sections of the ballet are the vision of Alice Schonbek, in her second season as artistic director.

“I’ve been committed to enhancing this local classic to refresh it in many ways,” Schonbek wrote in an email.

“We’ve re-choreographed Act 1, Party and Battle scenes. Additionally, the NCBE has commissioned new choreography in Act 2 over the last two years to make it almost an entirely new act.”


New York City-based Rebecca Kelly of Rebecca Kelly Ballet is along again for the spectacular ride for year 15.

She has created a new “Spanish Variation” in the style of Spain’s Aragonian region.

“This year, our affiliate choreographer, Rebecca Kelly, and our guest choreographer, Michela Boschetto, have been back to the North County to work with our local, student-company members on Kelly’s ‘Spanish Variation,’ and Boschetto’s ‘Waltz of the Flowers,’” Schonbek wrote.

“Our resident choreographer, Terpsie Toon, has also added new touches to the Battle Scene and made a Soldier Victory Dance.”

Toon also created a new angels choreography.

“Along with that, we have new set pieces, including a wonderful new two-level grandfather clock to enhance the mystery and magic of Claire’s dream, and props and costumes fashioned not only by professional costumers but by talented cast members’ families,” Schonbek wrote.


This year’s cast of 75 local-student dancers and 12 community members will hold performances in Plattsburgh and Lake Placid.

It’s the eighth season for Therese Wendeler, principal dancer with Rebecca Kelly Ballet and Dances Patrelle. She returns to “The Nutcracker” to dance the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy, as well as the Queen of the North in Kelly’s Snow variation.

For Mikhail Ilyin, it’s the third time around in the role of Cavalier. Ilyin, a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, danced with Miami City Ballet, Boston Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.

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