For the 20th year, Tchaikovsky’s classic Christmas ballet, “The Nutcracker,” will be presented by the Beth Fowler Dance Company.
Performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at DeKalb’s Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St. Additional performances are scheduled at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 and 2 p.m. Dec. 15 at St. Charles North High School in St. Charles.
A new addition to the event is the opportunity for children to meet the Sugar Plum Fairy backstage. Although no photography is allowed during the performances, parents are encouraged to bring their cameras for the backstage meet and greet.
“I’ve always wanted to try that,” Beth Fowler said. “I got the idea last spring when we did a new ballet for the first time with short stories about Cinderella, Jasmine, Belle, Ariele.
“The kids really believed they were seeing the real Cinderella, the real Jasmine. I was inspired by the kids in the audience,” Fowler said.
Guest artists performing as the Nutcracker Prince/Cavalier are Micha Moch from Los Angeles in the DeKalb production, and Ariel Cisneros of the Joffrey Ballet in the St. Charles production.
Featured company dancers are Mary Rose Fair as Clara and Rachael Kollins as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Rachel Olson and Haly Young are double cast as the Christmas Fairy and the Snow Queen. Larry Pool and Wade Tischhauser are double cast as the Snow King.
Other members of the large cast include company soloists and students from the Beth Fowler School of Dance in the children’s roles.
Choreography is by artistic director Fowler, assisted by Miranda Cortes, Hannah Smith and Brooke Fowler. Original choreography by Lev Ivanov is used in the Grand Pas De Deux.
The production includes special effects such as falling snow, large gift boxes containing life size dolls, a magical growing Christmas tree and a lighted swan-sleigh that carries Clara on her enchanted journey.
Fowler said parents and grandparents often fear their little ones can’t sit still through the whole performance. “They are amazed by the kids sitting on the edge of their seats,” she said.
Students have joined her company, taking lessons at her school, after seeing productions such as “The Nutcracker.”
“I have a couple that started with me when they were 3. One is now 25 and the other is 30,” said Fowler, who is celebrating her dance school’s 30th year.
Keeping the production fresh is easy, Fowler said.
“Each fall, my students move up to the next level, just like in school. They are doing something different every year and they get really excited about this new thing,” Fowler said.
“We try to make it a magical experience, and excitement permeates the studio.”
If you go
What: 'The Nutcracker'
When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St., DeKalb. Additional performances Dec.14 and 15 at St. Charles North High School.
Tickets: $17 and $22. Premium seating costs $22 and $27. Visit www.egyptiantheatre.org or call 815-758-1225.