by Bruce Strand, Arts Editor
The fourth annual performance of “The Nutcracker,” by North Ballet Youth Company of Rogers, was well-received by large audiences at Zabee Theatre in two productions last Saturday. The director was Breanna Dvorak, artistic director for North Ballet.
The lead role of Clara was performed, en pointe (a first for North Ballet’s production) by Elise Jones, 11, of Brooklyn Park, who aspires to become a professional ballet artist. She studied at the Vaganova school on the West Coast while her family vacationed in Washington.
Lead dancer in the “Waltz of the Snowflakes” was Natalie Belz, 14, of Elk River, who, in 4 1/2 years at North Ballet, has become one of the school’s highest-ability students, studying under Kim Norberg (former director) and Dvorak. Belz was accepted into the prestigious Harid Conservatory’s summer ballet intensive this summer. She aspires to become a professional ballet artist.
The Nutcracker Prince role was played for the first time by a North Ballet student, Jacob Walters, 13, of Coon Rapids. Guest professionals were Christopher Sellars and Arolyn Williams of Ballet West in Utah. The Godfather Drosselmeyer was played for the second time by Luke Tucker, a professional ballet artist and current faculty instructor at North Ballet.
Guest singers for the “Waltz of the Snowflakes” were North Star Boys Choir for the 1 p.m. show and Rogers High School Jazz Choir at the 4:30 p.m. show.