Ready for some Christmas culture? Swirling sugar plums, waltzing flowers, and an angry Mouse King come together next weekend during the Lively Art Foundation’s production of the perennial Christmas classic, The Nutcracker.
The Foundation’s Nutcracker is full of local talent. Every Christmas, their ballet features snow, dancing, and fabulous costumes, all set to the enchanting sounds of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker score. It’s a performance that includes dancers of all ages, including many child dancers who play roles ranging from candy to small rodents.
And it doesn’t get any sweeter than a mother-daughter dancing duo. Local mom Alicia Alvarez and her daughter Mia have made performing in The Nutcracker a family activity for five years now. Alicia appears as a party parent, which means she dances during the party scenes. Mia has been a bon-bon, a baby mouse, and a party girl. Now ten years old, Mia’s been dancing since she was two. Her mother Alicia also has a background in ballet—she started dancing because she was born with her feet turning in, so her parents put her into ballet to help with that.
To get you in the mood for a beautiful ballet performance, I interviewed the pair about The Nutcracker and their shared love of dance.
FresYes: What appealed to you about ballet?
Mia: It looked like so much fun and so graceful!
Alicia: How they make everything look so effortless when I know how hard it is!
FY: How did you get involved with the Nutcracker?
Mia: I just tried out and made it!
Alicia: Since I have a dance background, I told the directors that I would be interested in a party parent if they needed anyone. And sure enough, there was an opening.
FY: Do you audition every year?
Mia: Yes, I kept auditioning and making it.
Alicia: Party parent doesn’t require an audition at this point, it’s just hard to find men willing to dance with me… lol!
FY: How often do you practice or rehearse for this?
Mia: Every Sunday until tech week when it switches to almost everyday!
Alicia: We start in October and rehearse once a week, but if you have multiple parts, you will have more rehearsals.
FY: What characters have you played?
Mia: A bon-bon, baby mouse, and party girl.
Alicia: A party parent.
FY: Do you have a favorite character or part of the performance?
Mia: The flowers and snowflakes.
Alicia: At the end of Act I when the snowflakes come on, it starts to snow which I find magical. Arabian, Mother Ginger, and her bon-bons is a fun number as well.
FY: Why should people see The Nutcracker?
Mia: It is delightful and people work really hard to put it on.
Alicia: For some, it is a Christmas tradition, but it’s fun to experience things out of your wheel house and to support the arts or your friends in the production.
FY: Any advice for people wanting to watch it?
Mia: Keep in mind that they worked hard to perform for you and hope you enjoy the show!
Alicia: We love interaction from the audience when certain things happen in the show ranging from funny, silly, surprise or applause. The best audience is usually our Friday school show for that reason—just makes it more fun for us as performers.
The Nutcracker Details
The Friday school performance Alicia mentioned is part of the Lively Art’s effort to bring the arts to underserved families through their Discover Dance program. Each year, school children and their parents get to enjoy live ballet during a special performance. If you’re interested in donating to the Discover Dance portion of Lively Arts, you can click here.
To see The Nutcracker yourself, there are several times and dates to choose from:
Saturday, Dec. 9, 2 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 10, 2 p.m.
All performances are at William Saroyan theatre and prices range from $30-$62 for adults and $22-$35 for kids 12 and under.
There’s also the option to purchase tickets for the Sugar Plum fairy party after the Sunday show. Tickets are $12 for kids, parents are free. Refreshments are included and your child can meet the Sugar Plum fairy as well as other characters.
You can purchase tickets here or you can visit the Convention Center Box Office or call:
TicketMaster: (800) 745-3000
Lively Arts: (877) 608-5883