CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Westside Studio of Performing Arts continues a time-honored holiday tradition in Southern Utah with five performances of the classic ballet “The Nutcracker.” Bring the whole family to enjoy this whimsical wintertime tale of enchanting fairies, charming princes and dazzling candy-lands. 

Promotional image courtesy of Westside Studio of Performing Arts, St. George News

Under the instruction of owner/director Sheila Bailey, Westside Studio has performed a full-scale production of “The Nutcracker” every year since 2000. The ballet features accomplished professional dancers as well as local dance students, while beautifully decorated sets and exquisite costumes accent Tchaikovsky’s magical score.

“It doesn’t feel like Christmas if we don’t have ‘The Nutcracker,’” Bailey said. “It has become a tradition for families, sort of a rite of passage for Christmastime to come.”

Westside Studio will present “The Nutcracker” at Desert Hills High School on Dec. 7-9. Evening shows starting at 7:30 p.m. will be offered all three days, plus matinée performances on Friday and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15, $20, $30 or $40 depending on section and can be purchased online or at the door.

First performed in 1892, “The Nutcracker” is a two-act ballet based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s fairy tale about a young German girl who dreams of a handsome nutcracker prince and a fierce battle against a tyrannical mouse king. Having been adapted countless times for film, television and theater, the story remains a beloved Christmas favorite among audiences worldwide.

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 assemble to entertain Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, bringing smiles to the faces of the entire audience. 

Promotional image courtesy of Westside Studio of Performing Arts, St. George News

The professional ensemble stars Sophie Silnicki as both the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Snow Queen, Jafet Reinoso as the Cavalier and Troy McGee as Drosselmeyer. Silnicki and Reinoso are visiting from New York City, while McGee lives in Southern Utah and has appeared in many productions at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts.

Many of the roles, however, are played by local dance students. For the young talent being nurtured at Westside Studio, “The Nutcracker” is a thrilling opportunity to perform alongside acclaimed professionals.

“There are always desired roles and goals that different kids have from year to year,” Bailey said. “A lot of times, it’s dreams coming true. Their experiences in ‘The Nutcracker’ last a lifetime.”

After a successful performing and teaching career, Bailey founded Westside Studio with the desire to be part of creating a dance environment in her hometown. The studio has the staff and expertise to offer beginning through advanced classes for kids, teens and adults in ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, lyrical, modern, musical theater and more.

At Westside Studio, students use the tools they learn in dance training to gain confidence, succeed academically and develop a lifelong appreciation for the beauty of music and the arts. The inspiration behind it all is building beautiful people from the inside out through dance.

“Our dancers and staff work countless hours to bring this show to the community,” Bailey said. “We want to share our love of ballet for others to appreciate and enjoy, so that it elevates all of us.”

Event details

What: Westside Studio of Performing Arts presents “The Nutcracker.” 
When: Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 7-9, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. (matinées on Friday and Saturday from 2:30-4:30 p.m.) 
Where: Desert Hills High School, 828 E. Desert Hills Drive, St. George. 
Tickets: $15-$40. 
Resources: Website

Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.

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Westside Studio of Performing Arts | Address: 170 N. 400 East, St. George | Telephone: 435-674-9728 | Email: | Website.

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