Accompanied by the timeless melodies of famed Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the Macomb Ballet Company is drawing audiences into a shimmering land of enchantment this weekend with their performances of the Christmas classic, The Nutcracker.
“It’s like a big dream,” said Mount Clemens resident Sasha McGeorge, 19, who dances the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy. “In the beginning, you’re at this party. (The young girl) Clara falls asleep and she goes to this magical land where everything is sweet and fluffy. It takes you out of reality and brings you to this different place of happiness and sparkle.”
In a dream world with her Nutcracker Prince, Clara battles the fierce Mouse King and explores the lands of snow and sweets where snowflakes dance and the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns supreme.
“It takes place during Christmas, a magical season,” said MBC Artistic Director Amber Megna Michalik. “The Nutcracker is probably the most well-known ballet even by those who don’t know ballet. It’s a very, very good show.”
Both on stage and off, the holiday classic is a dream come true.
“Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy are the parts every ballerina aspires to be someday,” said Sterling Heights native Sarah Bicknell, 16, who dances the part of Clara in Saturday performances. “I’ve always wanted to be Clara. It is a privilege to dance the part again this year.”
Bicknell shares the role with fellow MBC member and Clinton Township resident Hannah Budny, 16, who dances the part in today’s performances.
“(Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy) are the parts everyone works up to,” Budny said. “When you’re little, you hope to achieve it. It means so much to actually get the honor.”
Apart from McGeorge, who is a former member of the MBC, and the male leads, the entire production, from the principals to the younger dancers with minor roles, is cast from within the company.
“We try not to hire anyone outside the company,” Michalik said. “All those little girls want to be Clara. They’ve seen the girls dancing that role now grow up within the company and go through the ranks to get better roles. It’s important to see that.”
Although she is no longer with the MBC, for five years, McGeorge was one of many in the company's history who has watched, worked and finally achieved the coveted principal role.
“It is something you work for,” McGeorge said. “It’s like every ballerina’s dream when you’re off stage and watching the Sugar Plum fairy dance with the prince. It’s magical.”
Performances are today at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, located on the southwest corner of Hall Road and Garfield in Clinton Township.
“We’re the only nonprofit community ballet company around, and it’s a high-quality, professional show and I don’t think anybody would know that they aren’t professional dancers,” Michalik said. “We’re a local company, but it’s pretty impressive what they can do.”
Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Today’s 10 a.m. show is $5 for everyone.
For ticket information, visit the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts website or call the box office at 586-286-2222.