PLATTSBURGH — The North Country Ballet's Ensemble promises more magic with “The Nutcracker” in its 34th holiday season.

The 85-strong corps beckons patrons to the magical realm of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Mouse King in the classic adaptation of the two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.


The libretto is a riff of E. T. A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King", by way of Alexandre Dumas' adapted work "The Story of a Nutcracker".

“First of all, there is the pure entertainment value of coming to an event the whole family can enjoy,” Alice Schonbek, artistic director, said.

“Seeing live dance in Plattsburgh and Lake Placid is a unique experience in itself, and so very different from watching dance on TV or in a movie theater. The NCBE has delivered consistently high-quality performances that rival many productions in larger cities with professional companies.”

The production features 70-plus local student dancers from seven dance schools in three counties, as well as 12 community members who perform in Acts 1 and 2.

NCBE artistic staff includes Kristen Glazier, Resident Choreographer, Terpsie Toon, in her 10th year, Michela Boschetto of New York City, and 12-year veteran Natalia Balina-Zborowska. Rebecca Kelly of New York City, continues her 20-plus year relationship with the NCBE.


Therese Wendler, currently a soloist with Dances Patrelle and formerly principal dancer with Connecticut Ballet and Rebecca Kelly Ballet will dance the role of Sugar Plum Fairy.

Mikhail Ilyin, will perform in the role of Cavalier. Ilyin, a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, received his training at the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy before moving to the United States in 1999.

He has danced as soloist and principal dancer with Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet and American Ballet Theater.

“We have our two wonderful, many times over, soloists from New York,” Schonbek said.

“They always arrive with a little bit of new choreography.”

Isabelle Sullivan of Peru will dance the role of Claire, while Jordan Osborne, also from Peru will perform as Fritz.

The charismatic and magical Tyler Nye of NYC returns as Uncle Drosselmeyer, and Karen Courtland Kelly, a former Olympian, as the Nutcracker.


The ensemble graduates two seniors this season, Lily Denton, of Beekmantown, and Kano Ottinger, of Plattsburgh.

Denton will perform in the role of Claire’s Angel in the “Battle Scene,' in the ensemble of the “Snow Scene,” in the 'Arabian Variation,” and as the Dew Drop in “Waltz of the Flowers.”

Ottinger will dance in the ensemble of the “Snow Scene,” in the “Arabian Variation,” and as the Dew Drop in “Waltz of the Flowers.”

“For those who have come to the NCBE Nutcracker performances more than once, there are always changes to the choreography, changes and enhancements to the lighting and beautiful costumes,” Schonbek said.

“This year, we have a few surprises in store for those who are familiar with our production. I hope new audiences and those who have followed NCBE for years, will be delighted by those changes.”


This season, the dancers will grace 250 costumes.

“We are very lucky to have some motivated and wonderful parents and grandparents, who were willing to help us refresh many of the costumes in Act 1,” Schonbek said.

New choreography will dazzle in “Battle” and “Party” scenes.

“The dancers work so hard throughout September, October and November to transform steps into choreography and then to build a story that they don’t realize that they have built a strong community of sorts,” Schonbek said.

“That spirit shows when they are all together on the stage.”

Margaret Swick has reworked the lighting design, so look for new special effects in Act 2.

The show’s visual appeal will be enhanced by a variety of set features, designed and produced by dedicated community members.

“In Act 2, people can also look for enhanced and refreshed choreography in “Chinese,” “Candy Canes” and “Waltz of the Flowers,” Schonbek said.

“We're always trying to make interesting for people who have come to the Nutcracker more than once as well as people who are coming for the very first time.”

New this year are two performances on Saturday.

“Between the wonderful participation of community members and the board and the really hard work of the dancers and the dedication of their families for the last three months, we're very thankful that all of that has come together to create a high-quality production,” Schonbek said.


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WHAT: The North Country Ballet Ensemble presents "The Nutcracker."

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 30 at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m.

WHERE: The Hartman Theater, Myers Fine Arts Building, SUNY Plattsburgh.

ADMISSION: Ticket prices are Reserved Seating: $15 children (ages 12 and under) and seniors; $20 adults.

All categories of tickets are on sale through the NCBE @, and one hour prior to each Plattsburgh performance on site at Hartman Theatre.

For group sales, please call (518) 574-3700 and for information about the NCBE, please visit our web site, or email us at


Lake Placid Performances take place at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts located at 17 Algonquin Drive in Lake Placid on Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 1 p.m.

For reservations and ticket information, please call the LPCA box office at (518) 523-2512 or visit


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