NYC dancers to perform in ‘Nutcracker’

Published 11:20 am Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ali Blackburn, top, playing Clara, is surrounded by Lily Goodnight, from left, Raigen Smith and Hadleigh Slayton playing the role of soldiers. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Ali Blackburn, top, playing Clara, is surrounded by Lily Goodnight, from left, Raigen Smith and Hadleigh Slayton playing the role of soldiers. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Dancers from the Debra Franco Preparatory School of Dance have been practicing for their upcoming performance of the “Nutcracker” ballet and to assist them four professional artists will also be dancing, including two from New York City.
“I am so excited to have Morgan Claire McEwen dance the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Scott Webber dance as her Cavalier in our performance,” Debra Franco said.
Both McEwen and Webber are dancers with the New York City Metropolitan Opera dance Company, she said.
McEwen began her professional ballet career at the age of 17, and in 2009, she began dancing with the Metropolitan Opera. There she performed in Metropolitan Opera premiers including Rossini’s “Armida,” Offenbach’s “Les contes d’Hoffmann” and “Enchanted Island.”
Webber has recently performed as a principal dancer in “Die Frau Ohne Schatten” and “Aida” at the Metropolitan Opera and some of his regional theater credits include “Carousel,” “On Your Toes,” “The Pajama Game” and “La Cage Aux Folles.”
Typically a senior dancer from the studio dances the “coveted role” of the Sugar Plum Fairy, said Franco, but this year there were no seniors interested.
Other professional performers for the local performance are Caitlin Elledge, who is with the Richmond Ballet Company from South Mississippi and local, Kevin Arredondo, who has been dancing with the Greensboro Ballet Company.
Elledge will dance the part of the Spanish soloist, and Arredondo will be the Cavalier for the Snow Queen, said Franco.
“The Nutcracker” ballet is an adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” with music composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
The ballet opens with a party scene, and Clara is presented a nutcracker. Her rambunctious little brother, Fritz swipes the gift and winds up breaking it.
Clara is upset and after finally falling asleep that night, she dreams her broken toy comes to life and he takes her on a journey to the Land of Snow and the Land of Sweets.
“This is my first time to be in the ‘Nutcracker,’” said Bella Kate Futch, who is six years old.
“I saw my aunt being a soldier and it looked fun,” she said.
Performances for the ballet are scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Vicksburg Theatre Guild’s Parkside Playhouse, 101 Iowa Blvd.
Tickets are $10 and are available by calling, 601-638-7282.

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About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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