Westside Studio rings in the holiday season with ‘The Nutcracker’ featuring professional, local dancers

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Westside Studio of Performing Arts continues a time-honored holiday tradition in Southern Utah with four performances of the classic ballet “The Nutcracker.” 

Photo courtesy of Westside Studio of Performing Arts, St. George News

The studio will perform “The Nutcracker” at the Desert Hills High School auditorium Dec. 10-11, with performances at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. both days. Tickets cost $15 or $20 and may be purchased online

First performed in 1892, “The Nutcracker” is a two-act ballet based on the fairy tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E.T.A. Hoffmann about a young German girl who dreams of a nutcracker prince and a fierce battle against a mouse king. Although the story has been adapted countless times for film, television and live shows, it remains a beloved Christmas favorite with audiences worldwide. 

Wyone Orchard, front desk manager for Westside Studio, said that grown-ups and children alike will delight in seeing the mice and soldiers battle before Clara continues into the Snow Kingdom and the Land of the Sweets to visit the Sugar Plum Fairy. There, dancers from around the world entertain the Nutcracker Prince and Clara, bringing smiles to the faces of all involved.

Westside Studio will present a full production of the classic ballet featuring accomplished professional dancers as well as local dance students. Beautifully decorated sets and exquisite costumes accent Tchaikovsky’s magical score. 

They are so talented and really bring a level of professionalism to our production,” Orchard said. 

The professional ensemble stars Matisse Madden as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Snow Queen, Rorey Fraser as the Cavalier and Troy McGee as Drosselmeyer. Madden and Fraser hail from the East Coast, while McGee lives in Southern Utah and has appeared in many productions at Tuacahn Center for the Arts. Dusten Hill, another professional dancer based in the local area, will round out the cast with his training in Russian ballet.      

Following “The Nutcracker,” Westside Studio will perform another holiday tradition, “Tap Tidings,” on Dec. 13 at the Electric Theater. Shows start at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and are available to purchase online

Photo courtesy of Westside Studio of Performing Arts, St. George News

Westside Studio has performed an adaptation of “The Nutcracker” every holiday season for the past 30 years. It grew to a full-scale production in 2000. For the young talent being nurtured by the studio’s faculty, it’s a thrilling opportunity to dance alongside seasoned professionals. 

“What I’ve loved seeing over the years is students coming in as 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds and looking up to this production as something they want to be in,” Orchard said. “They’re so excited to participate each year and move up through the roles. It’s part of their holiday season and part of their growth and their dreams.” 

After a successful performing and teaching career, Sheila Bailey founded Westside Studio with the desire to be part of creating a dance environment in her hometown. Bailey grew up in St. George and began her dance studies under Diane Hafen. 

“We teach all different genres and ages, from little ones to kids to teens,” Orchard said. “The idea behind Westside is building beautiful people from the inside out through dance.”

Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.

•  S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T  •

Event details

  • What: Westside Studio presents “The Nutcracker.” 
  • When: Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10 and 11, starting at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Desert Hills High School, 828 E. Desert Hills Drive, St. George. 
  • Tickets: $15-$20. 
  • Resources: Website

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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