Ed Albanesi: St. Augustine Nutcracker returns for 8th year

nutcracker-poster-2016-final-003By Ed Albanesi

In the late 1960s I took a Comprehensive Humanities course at the University of Florida that I didn’t much like.

One of the ways we were tested involved the playing of recorded bits of classical music, which we had to identify in a multiple-choice selection. For the most part I was clueless and my grades reflected such.

I think of those times every time I today hear an excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite. You might hear me blurt out, “Oh, that’s from the Russian scene,” or “ that’s from the Dance of the Mirlitons.” (And if you’ve wondered as I have about these “mirlitons,” check out this link: http://www.danceadvantage.net/what-is-a-mirliton/).

What a difference 40+ years make. Bring on those Humanities midterms with the classical excerpts. My answers will set the curve.

I bring you all this personal history and trivia as a longwinded reminder that it’s once again time for the St. Augustine Nutcracker.

Now in its eighth year, this evolving local tradition will be presented four times on Dec. 17-18 in the Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College. Matinees are scheduled for 1:30, with evening performances at 7.

This is the sixth consecutive year my daughter will be a part of the Ballet and the sixth consecutive year my wife will be running a Nutcracker Boutique in the lobby before and after each show (passers-by welcome).

Every penny of the net proceeds from sales at the Boutique goes to support dance in our community and the St. Augustine Ballet.

Guests can choose from hundreds of Nutcracker ornaments, many of them new this year. And there will be scores of other gifts and stocking stuffers available for sale.

My wife is also working with a local florist (Jade Violet) to provide dancer bouquets at very competitive prices. The bouquets are being made available at cost so there’s no need to make an extra stop to purchase flowers elsewhere.

Nutcracker Director Luis Abella promises a memorable Ballet and has brought in principal dancers who will dazzle audiences.

Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg will perform as the Sugar Plum Fairy opposite her husband Carlos Miguel Guerra as the Cavalier. Both have worked at the Miami City Ballet. Returning as Drosselmeyer is Orlando Molina of the Georgia Ballet in Atlanta.

The local dancers who will participate in the Nutcracker include both newcomers and veterans. I remember when my daughter was a newcomer in the 2011 Ballet. I have mixed emotions about her now being one of the “big girls.”

Before my daughter was even a newcomer, her mother and I used to take her to Jacksonville to see the First Coast Nutcracker. I could swear she danced before she could walk.

Now our community is fortunate to have its own Nutcracker and it gets better with each passing year. Look out Jacksonville. Your little sister to the south is gaining on you.

I have made it a personal tradition to promise everyone who attends the St. Augustine Nutcracker they will leave the theatre with a smile on their face. This year is no different. I guarantee it.
Tickets are available online at www.saintaugustineballet.com.

You can also purchase tickets at the box office beginning one hour prior to each performance. Tickets remain, but hurry. They’re going fast.

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