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A classical return

LIHUE — Ballet Kauai invites you to its second year of performing the winter classic, “The Nutcracker.”

“We actually have three new people in it that were not in it last year, and we’ve added two new dances,” said Director Daniel Nelson.

The performance begins at 7 p.m. Friday at Island School’s Main Hall.

Like last year, the production is based on Act 2 of the ballet composed by famous Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographer Marius Petipa more than a century ago. It takes place in the dream of a young girl named Clara as she awakes to a magical, fairy tale land and is given a nutcracker.

The 45-minute performance will feature the Sugar Plum Fairy, angels and princes, along with dances from around the world, including the Spanish dance, Russian dance, Chinese dance, the Arabian dance and Waltz of the Flowers. And at the end, Clara falls back asleep and awakes to find the fairy tale world gone, but the nutcracker doll still by her side.

“The thing that’s really exciting for me is this year I found a guy to do partnering,” Nelson said.

Connor Burns and Portia Chuah will dance a pas de deux, or duet. And Nelson said that despite being new to ballet, Burns is really accomplished.

“At the end, in the finale, because he’s really strong, I’ve put in like 20 lifts,” Nelson laughed.

The performance features a total of nine dancers, ages 10 to 21.

Zenda Yoo, a mother of three dancers in the show, described Nelson as a “director, choreographer and ballet instructor extraordinaire,” and promised the audience is in for a fabulous performance.

“Last year, the audience was truly amazed at the level and quality of classical ballet students on Kauai were able to deliver,” Yoo wrote in an email. “To the audience’s delight, Ballet Kauai transported the audience to this magical land with their beautiful dancing and music.”

Yoo said the students have been working hard to share the magic of this Christmas classic with the wonderful people of Kauai and the show should be even better.

Nelson said that while The Nutcracker is a traditional piece, performed by ballet companies and schools around the world, it made its first appearance on Kauai last year.

“We’re entering into this longtime tradition,” he said.

Over the years, Nelson has danced in The Nutcracker with five different companies, including National Ballet of Canada and Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

“I have quite a history with it,” he said.

Tickets cost $7 at the door.

For more information, visit the Ballet Kauai at www.balletkauai.com or send an email to Nelson, borneoboy@hotmail.com.

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