For South Jersey this December, the vision of sugarplums, toys coming to life and dancing mice will become a reality with the performance of “The Nutcracker.”
A ballet for audiences of all ages, “The Nutcracker” tells the story of young Clara, who dreams of a Nutcracker prince who whisks her off through a magical wintry landscape to the kingdom of the Sugarplum Fairy. The famous full-length ballet and holiday season favorite will feature iconic music by Peter Ilyich Tchailkovsky and exceptional performances by children of all ages with the South Jersey Ballet at Voorhees Middle School Dec. 16, 17 and 18. One of those dancers is Madeline Talbot of Seneca High School, playing the starring role of Clara.
“When I was little, (my family) would see ‘The Nutcracker,’ and I always thought of being in the show, especially as Clara. Having that opportunity now is amazing,” Talbot said.
Talbot, of Shamong, has a great passion for dancing, specifically ballet. When she was about 5 years old, she was taken to see the Pennsylvania Ballet and was so enthralled by the dancers she wanted to take ballet lessons. Talbot’s mother Tara said she only wanted to learn ballet at first, but eventually she branched off to learn other types of dancing as well. However, ballet is still one of her favorites.
Talbot loves ballet for many reasons, being able to perform such a well-known and complex art form, but feels there are a lot of real-world benefits to learn from it as well, including discipline, time management and teamwork.
“It helps to shape you into a well-rounded person,” Talbot said.
The Seneca senior has put in several hours of work into ballet to perfect her art and for the show has been putting in even more. Talbot has previously performed as Clara in a travelling company’s production before, but she is putting just as much effort into it as before.
“It’s definitely challenging,” Talbot said.
“We’re so proud of her. She got to be Clara with a travelling company and to get to play the part again is just wonderful,” Tara said.
Talbot hopes people come to the performance to enjoy a holiday classic, but also to experience the ballet.
“It is a holiday tradition in my family and a great thing to start in other families. Ballet is beautiful; it is a cultural experience that is exciting and different. Being able to see ballet at a local level is really cool,” Talbot said. “Everyone will find something that they like about ‘The Nutcracker.’”
“It is really a nice quality community show with talented local people and professional dancers. It is a family-friendly way to introduce families to ballet,” Tara said.
South Jersey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” will debut Friday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. with additional performances Saturday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 18 at 2:30 p.m. Talbot will be Clara in the Dec. 17 4:30 p.m. and the Sunday performances, playing different parts in the other two shows. Girl Scouts and other student groups will have an opportunity to meet the company after the Friday and Saturday 4:30 p.m. shows at a special ticket rate.
All performances will take place at Voorhees Middle School on Holly Oak Drive in Voorhees. For more information and tickets, visit www.southjerseyballet.com or call (855) 222–2849.