Submitted by Ballet Northwest

Ballet Northwest’s The Nutcracker, Olympia’s holiday favorite for 37 years, is returning to The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in December with breathtaking sets brilliantly created by local artist, Jill Carter. Ballet Northwest (BNW) is thrilled to be returning to live performances this season, with health and safety measures in place. The Nutcracker was last seen live in 2019. Last year due to the pandemic, BNW produced a film version of the holiday classic.

The Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier will be danced by professional guest artist Lucas Horns who danced professionally with Ballet West in Salt Lake City. Ballet Northwest company dancers Elina Brein and Nina Ivanenko will be alternating in the lead role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Both have attended Oregon Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive in Portland. Brein is 20 years old and lives in Centralia. Ivanenko is 17 years old, lives in Lacey, and is enrolled in Running Start.

“Audiences from all over South Puget Sound have come to love our Nutcracker production in the beautiful Washington Center,” said Ken Johnson, co-artistic director at Ballet Northwest, the oldest dance company in the State of Washington. “Our dancers and audiences have been through so much these last couple years with the pandemic, so we’re excited to bring back this community tradition for all to enjoy at the holidays.”

Josie Johnson, co-artistic director for Ballet Northwest said, “We know that attending The Nutcracker at The Washington Center is a holiday tradition for many families in the South Sound, and we try and keep the choreography fresh and exciting. This year we have a few other surprises in store. Plus, the magic between audience and performers is something special that we’ve all missed.”

Over 150 people make up the cast, which features local dancers as young as 8 years old plus Ballet Northwest company dancers. Ballet Northwest’s dance company is comprised of over 60 dancers age 12 and older, drawn from Thurston, Pierce, Lewis, and Mason counties.

“Ballet Northwest’s mission is to promote the art of dance and this classic ballet introduces thousands to the art form. We believe our performances are on par with staged productions in Seattle and Portland yet at half the price. We are thrilled to bring The Nutcracker to the region and once again delight audiences with the quality of the dancing, the guest artists, the set and the entire experience,” said Noel Ostrander, Ballet Northwest’s board president.

For patrons 12 and older, the Washington Center is currently requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test provided by a lab within 72 hours for entry to the Washington Center. Patrons age 18 and older must also show a photo ID. Patrons age 11 and younger are NOT required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test. Testing appointments are available in front of the Washington Center.

Ballet Northwest’s Artistic Directors Ken and Josie Johnson choreographed the production and The Nutcracker is presented by Capital Heating & Cooling, and sponsored by the Tucker Family Foundation, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Andrew J. Kapust DDS, Kell-Chuck Glass, Washington State Arts Commission, Community Foundation of South Puget Sound, Olympic Dermatology, and Employer Resources Northwest. Media sponsors include 95.3 KGY, 94.5 ROXY, and 96.1 KXXO.

Since 1970, Ballet Northwest has been a community-based group dedicated to promoting, teaching, and preserving the art of dance in Southwestern Washington. The company offers educational opportunities for local dancers as well as outreach throughout the community.

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