‘The Nutcracker’: Allegheny Ballet Company presenting holiday classic

Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich The Allegheny Ballet Company rehearses for its performance of the holiday classic “The Nutcracker” under the instruction of artistic director Connor Kilian Weigand.

For the 35th year, the Allegheny Ballet Company is presenting the holiday classic, “The Nutcracker” at the Mishler Theatre next week.

Shows on Dec. 16 and 17 are at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee is at 1 p.m. on Dec. 18. Tickets are $15 and $20.

About 60 dancers from the company, ages 3 to 18, will participate, along with several adults who will participate as dancers in Act I’s “party scene,” said Kristina Zlupko, ABC executive director.

“You’ll be surprised this year, as we have a few ‘local celebrities’ taking part in that scene,” she said, in an email interview.

“We always like to add little surprises each year,” added artistic director Connor Kilian Weigand.

The top featured roles will be played by Regan Fleming, 17, a high school senior from Flinton as the Sugar Plum Fairy; Hannah Epple, 18, a senior from Altoona as Snow Queen; Robert Fulton, 16, of State College as Snow King and Sugar Plum’s Cavalier; and, Laurel Steinly, 17, a high school senior from Johnstown as Dew Drop.

Zlupko also said two senior dancers will be featured: Anne Diminick, 18, of Hollidaysburg, who will be playing the lead role in Spanish (Hot Chocolate), and Hanna Wyland, 18, of Altoona, who will be playing the lead role in Arabian (Coffee).

Zlupko and Weigand have been working together on “The Nutcracker” for five years.

“But each year comes with its own challenges,” Weigand said.

“While much of the process is on auto-pilot, there are definitely different challenges every year,” Zlupko added.

It is an opportunity for patrons to establish a holiday tradition, as well as enjoy the deep talent of dancers in the area, they said.

“We truly have some very talented dancers in our program, and you don’t have to leave the area to experience a professional-quality production,” Zlupko said.

“Even though it’s a lot of hard work to put together, from all of our beautiful dancers to all the dedicated staff and volunteers involved, it really is a magnificent and magical experience for all ages,” she added.

Mirror Life Writer Cherie Hicks is at 949-7030.