Celebrate the season with the Yellowstone Ballet Company (YBC) and its delightful staging of the most popular of all story ballets — The Nutcracker. YBC presents its 27th annual production on Saturday, December 9th at 4pm, and Sunday, December 10th at 4pm. Both performances will be presented at Sleeping Giant Middle School, 301 View Vista Drive, in Livingston. Audiences will delight in YBC’s intimate staging of this beloved story about Clara and her Nutcracker Prince with additional choreography by Nikita Kusurgashev, former Bolshoi Ballet soloist.
This year, several generations are taking part in the production. The starring role of Clara, the girl who dreams that her Nutcracker is really a prince under the spell of the evil Rat King, will be danced by Angelica Crown, a ninth grader at Park High School. Her father, Matthew Crown, plays Clara’s father Chief Justice Stahlbaum. Popular Livingston actress Emily Jones plays Mrs. Stahlbaum while her twin girls Rose and Grace dance as children in the Party Scene. Five year old Micah Melius dances as a mouse while his mother Nicole Melius and his grandmother Robin Melius dance as the rats under the evil Rat King performed by Russian guest artist Nikita Kusergashev. Another mouse, Lennon Gjerson dances with her grandmother Joann Adney, a rat also. Count Dresselmeyer is played by Rik Pittendorfer who has honed the role to perfection with sixty-seven performances of The Nutcracker under his belt. His son Parsifal Pittendorfer dances the role of the Nutcracker Prince. Parsifal trained at Yellowstone Ballet School before receiving scholarships to the San Francisco Ballet School and Ellison Ballet, New York. He has danced professionally with State Street Ballet, Santa Barbara and Texas Ballet Theatre, Dallas.
All time favorite Maya Moody from Bozeman will dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. She has been performing with YBC for many years and is known for her split leaps and expressive quality of dancing. Also joining YBC is “Raison D’etre Dance,” a new Bozeman dance troupe performing in the Snow Scene and the Waltz of the Flowers.
All ages will enjoy the magical and colorful characters: the mechanical dolls, Mother Ginger and her children, Little Bo Peep and her lost sheep, waltzing Snowflakes, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Children may come dressed as the Nutcracker Prince, the Snow King, the Snow Queen, or the Sugar Plum Fairy. Prizes will be awarded for best costume during intermission.
Under the artistic direction of Kathleen Rakela, the Yellowstone Ballet Company has been featuring local, national, and international dance talent in the Livingston/Bozeman area since 1987. YBC has staged such classic ballets as Cinderella (1990, 2002, 2014), Giselle (1994, 2011), and Sleeping Beauty (1995), Swan Lake (2012) as well as world premieres of Ms. Rakela’s original ballets, Romeo and Juliet of the Rockies (1999), Hiawatha (2005), Hansel & Gretel ~ with a Twist (2008), Pinocchio (2010), The Elves & the Shoemaker (2013), and The Little Mermaid (2015).
Ms. Rakela is recipient of the Montana Arts Council Fellowship for the Performing Arts. She also runs the Yellowstone Ballet School, whose students have received scholarships to the National Ballet of Canada, School of American Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School and Interlochen School of the Arts.
General admission bleacher seats for The Nutcracker are $18 for adults and $12 for children. A limited number of chair seats are available for $25 by emailing email@example.com. Tickets can be purchased at www.yellowstoneballet.info and in person at the Yellowstone Ballet offices, 109 S B St., in Livingston. A service fee of $2 will be added to tickets purchased at the door. For more information, please call (406) 222-0430.
YBC’s The Nutcracker is generously sponsored by Spected/TIC Walter and Regina Wunsch. •