Now through Dec. 28, Houston Ballet is presenting the holiday classic “The Nutcracker” on stage in the Brown Theater at Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston.
The ballet tells the story of a little girl named Clara who is given a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve. She then encounters the frightful Rat King before embarking on a journey through the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets.
The production features a number of special effects, including a Christmas tree that “grows” to forty feet, 200 pounds of “snow” falling during a snow scene, and the firing of cannon on stage.
Soloist Tyann Clement, a company veteran for 17 years, will make her final appearances with Houston Ballet, dancing the role of the Snow Queen and lead flower at select performances.
Clement began her studies in New Orleans with Kathryn Gamble and Harvey Hysell, and then studied at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy before joining Houston Ballet in 1991. In 2001, she was promoted to soloist.
Capping her 17-year career with Houston Ballet dancing the role of the Snow Queen, she will be partnered by Ian Casady.
“He’s my prince on stage who’s also my prince in real life. It’s amazing to share the thing that you love the most with the person you love the most,” Clement said.
In January 2009, Clement will enter the University of Houston. She has a leg up on her business degree with 47 credits already completed, earned at Houston Ballet through its program offering college courses to dancers.
“I’m happy to let go of the aches and pains and the pointe shoes. There’s a reason we call them ‘pink coffins;’ because your feet are absolutely dead after performing in them,” Clement said. “They may look pretty, but they are miserable to wear. But being onstage – there’s nothing like it.”
Clement added she looks forward to seeing her fellow artists “from the other side,” as an observer in the audience.
Christopher Coomer, a native of Birkenhead, England who joined the company in 2004, will debut as the Prince.
Scheduled to return to the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy are Mireille Hassenboehler, Amy Fote, Melody Herrera, Sara Webb, Kelly Myernick, Nao Kusuzaki, Katharine Precourt and Hitomi Takeda.
Slated to return to the role of Prince are Linnar Looris, Simon Ball, Connor Walsh, Ian Casady, Nicholas Leschke and Randy Herrera.
Tickets are $17 – $125 and are available by calling 713-227-2787 or 800-828-ARTS. Tickets are also available by visiting www.houstonballet.org, the Houston Ballet Box Office at Wortham Theater Center and all Ticketmaster outlets, Macy’s, Fiesta, Wherehouse Music and select FYE, H-E-B and Ritmo Latino stores.
Houston Ballet’s performances of “The Nutcracker” are underwritten by Continental Airlines, Shell Oil Company Foundation, Baker Botts L.L.P., and Devon Energy Corporation.