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July 14, 2024

‘The Nutcracker,’ a holiday classic, returns

The magical Nutcracker will spring to life in Studio Roxander's production of Tchaikovsky's classic ballet. Studio Roxander photo
December 2, 2023

Performances of the Studio Roxander production of the ballet are nearing a sellout

By Lee Juillerat for Ashland.news

Tickets are selling out quickly for a holiday favorite, “The Nutcracker” ballet, which will be offered eight times on the second and third weekends of December by Studio Roxander at the Crater Performing Arts Center in Central Point.

“Let your holiday spirit soar as you follow Clara on her marvelous journey in this magical, family-friendly production,” says Elyse Roxander of Studio Roxander Academy of Ballet. This year’s offerings will be the Studio’s 14th annual presentation of the seasonal classic. The studio first presented “The Nutcracker” in 2010, a year after Roxander and her husband, David Roxander, opened their dance studio.

“We’ve been going, going, going ever since,” she says.

This year’s performances will feature 90 dancers, with the two youngest being 5 years old. Along with showcasing “homegrown, talented students,” the cast again includes Elyse, David and their son, Ashton, 26, a guest dancer for “The Nutcracker” who is a principal dancer with the Philadelphia Ballet. He will perform as the Cavalier. Sydney Dolan, a first soloist with the Philadelphia Ballet, will take the role as the Sugar Plum Fairy for the closing-weekend performances.

The Roxanders’ other son, Jake, 21, dances professionally with the New York-based American Ballet Theater.

Elyse said planning for this year’s performances began in early September, with rehearsals beginning later that month.

“It’s a little community we’ve created,” she says, explaining that the cast features people of all ages, including community members, adults and parents of children who have performed in previous shows.

“It’s fun for people,” she said, adding that the second act is an audience favorite because of its variety of dance, including groups of dancers. “The audiences just love it.”

Over the years, interest in ballet and “The Nutcracker” has spiraled. In 2010, the first year Studio Roxander staged the show, the small cast of a 50 had only two performances. While the numbers of cast members has nearly doubled, the number of performances has multiplied.

“The caliber of dancer produced by the studio continues to rise,” Elyse said, noting the studio’s staff and students have “sparked national and international interest,” including four “Outstanding Teacher” awards from the Youth America Grand Prix panel of judges. “The Nutcracker” has so been named Best Performing Arts Production four times by “Sneak Preview” readers. Nearly a dozen performers, ages 13 to 18, will be attending the Youth America Grand Prix in the coming year.

Performances are set for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-10 and Dec. 15-17. Friday shows are at 7 p.m., Saturday shows at 1 and 7 p.m., and Sunday shows at 1 p.m. All performances will be at the 515-seat Crater Performing Arts Center 655 N. Third St., Central Point. Relatively few tickets are available for matinee. Elyse Roxander suggests people move quickly if hoping to attend a performance.

Reserved seating tickets are available through the Studio Roxander Box Office, 101 E. 10th St., Medford; by calling 541-773-7272; or online at studioroxander.com. Tickets range from $16 to $28 for adults. Admission for children up to age 12 and seniors age 62 and older ranges from $12 to $24.

“We try to keep the prices as reasonable as possible. That’s significant,” Elyse Roxander said, adding that “The Nutcracker” “has strong a following.… It’s very traditional.”

Email freelance writer Lee Juillerat at 337lee337@charter.net.

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