Now in its 33rd year, Ballet Légere’s production of “The Nutcracker” is the longest running version of this popular holiday classic in the Chicago area. Slated for Dec. 7 to 11 at the Dominican University Performing Arts Center in River Forest, it’s a labor of love for founder and artistic director, Donna Vittorio.
For one week in December, young and old alike can relive the holiday magic while joining Clara and her friends on their journey to the Land of Sweets.
The production features more than 120 local dancers plus guest artists from around the country who perform the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier. This year, the guest artists are Marcus Romeo and Bella Uthea from Cincinnati Ballet.
More than 4,000 attendees turn out for the weekend performances each year, while matinee performances, geared for school field trips and senior organizations, are held during the week. Over the course of three days, roughly 6,000 students are introduced to the joys of ballet and classical music.
Vittorio credits her Italian upbringing for her love of the arts and her passion for dance. “To share this passion with the audiences, to answer questions following the matinee performances and to take them behind the scenes after the Saturday matinee are very rewarding moments for me,” she says.
When the curtain comes down for the final show on Dec. 17, Vittorio will start planning for next year’s performance while dancing, choreographing recitals, and mentoring young dance students at her Légere Dance Centre in River Forest.
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