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Holiday fairy tale comes to life
Ballet troupe to perform Nutcracker
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‘The Nutcracker’

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6; and 2 p.m. Dec. 7

Where: Pearce Auditorium, Brenau University, 500 Washington St., Gainesville

Cost: $11-$30

More info: 770-532-4241 or

Falling asleep underneath the Christmas tree doesn’t always cue a dance number, but when it does, it always brings a nutcracker to life.

Since 1978, the Gainesville Ballet Company has performed The Nutcracker every year, and the time has come again. Beginning Dec. 5 and, company dancers will show Gainesville residents what they have been working on since August.

The ballet tells a story of a young girl named Clara who falls asleep under the Christmas tree with her brand-new nutcracker. When midnight hits, she wakes up to find the toy has come to life and everything around her has changed. The two characters encounter many adventures through the night of Christmas Eve.

The Gainesville Dance Company is made up of dancers of all ages: 7 years old to high school and college students, all the way to paid professionals.

Chestatee High School sophomore Jessica Berliner has been at the dance company since she was 9. Berliner is in three different dances for “The Nutcracker” and hopes to impress the crowd.

“We have been working so hard on the production, and I want to dance to my greatest ability,” she said.

Berliner and the other dancers have spent six to eight hours rehearsing each week.

“Pulling together shows like ‘The Nutcracker’ is demanding for everyone,” said Tamara Stevenson, executive director of the Gainesville School of Ballet and volunteer at the dance company. “There are hundreds of parents and other volunteers who all hold (it) together.”

Stevenson gives all the credit to Diane Callahan, the troupe’s artistic director who founded the Gainesville Ballet Company in 1974. Within the first year, the company grew from 15 to 70 dancers. Four years later, the dance group performed its first showing of “The Nutcracker.”

“The way she trains is fabulous,” Stevenson said about Callahan. “What she’ll say is ... ‘You can tell almost immediately if they’ve been well-trained, just by the way they walk over and put their hand on the barre.’”

Public performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and  2 p.m. Dec. 7. School matinees will be at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Dec. 4 and 5. The production is in Pearce Auditorium on Brenau University at 500 Washington St. in Gainesville.

Tickets are $12 to $18 for children, $14 to $22 for seniors and $18 to $26 for adults, depending on the seating. Tickets can be purchased by calling 770-532-4241 or at the Community Foundation Center at 615-F Oak St. in Gainesville.

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