Generations of families celebrate the Christmas season with a special trip to see “The Nutcracker Ballet,” spending time together and creating wonderful holiday memories. The Vineland Regional Dance Company (VRDC) continues that tradition as it presents this much beloved classic at 1 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 16, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 17, in the Frank Guaracini Jr. Fine & Performing Arts Center on the campus of Rowan College of South Jersey Cumberland County (RCSJCC), 3322 College Drive.
This family-friendly breathtaking production features a colossal 35-foot fully lit Christmas tree, dazzling costumes, and an onstage flurry of snow, which makes this VRDC time-honored tradition a memorable experience.
“We feel so privileged to be able to offer audiences in our South Jersey area the chance to experience this holiday classic,” said Artistic Director Kimberly Chapman, whose mother, Maxine Chapman, choreographed and presented the VRDC’s version of “The Nutcracker'' 45 years ago. “The story is timeless, but each production is fresh and new because of the new cast of characters. Dancers grow both physically and artistically and new talent is added each year that uniquely defines each performance.”
Filled with holiday pageantry and colorful dancing, the audience will be swept away by Tchaikovsky’s iconic score as the VRDC’s Nutcracker Ballet spins an enchanted tale of Clara and her Christmas dream of a magical Nutcracker Prince, his thrilling battle with the evil Mouse King, her excursion through the Snow Forest and her introduction to the Land of Sweets and an exquisite flower garden where the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier perform.
This year’s cast features Ava Howard of Millville as Clara, Cyrus Safonof of Vineland as Clara’s Nutcracker Prince, Gianni Ketcham of Vineland as Clara’s mischievous brother Fritz, Ian Kimble of Philadelphia as the mysterious Godfather Drosselmeyer, Jeff Riddle of Arizona, VRDC Board member, as Judge Stahlbaum, VRDC alumnus Jenna Dannenberger Edelstein of Vineland as Mrs. Stahlbaum, alumnus Leonardo Luciano of Vineland as the Rat King, Addison Mancill of Vineland as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Maximus Safonof of Vineland as the Cavalier.
Company dancers Angelina Baruffi, Zoey Castro and Valery Shcherbyna of Vineland, Katherine Cappuccio of Hammonton, Mikaela Delvalle of Landisville, Frieda Nichols of Franklinville, Teagan Shover of Buena, Gianna Tonetta and Olivia Ziller of Millville and Francesca Viso of Pittsgrove round out the cast.
“Our production has become an essential part of the holiday season in our South Jersey area and we are extremely grateful for the generous, continued support of our audience and community,” said Chapman, who credits the dedication and hard work of her family, VRDC alumni, members of the VRDC Board of Directors, Parent’s Guild, students, and the South Jersey community for the 45 successful years of The Nutcracker Ballet.
Tickets can be reserved now and are $35 for front orchestra and front mezzanine, $25 for back orchestra and back mezzanine, and $20 for senior citizens, students, and groups of 10 or more in the back orchestra or back mezzanine only.
For tickets or information, call (856) 691-6059 or visit www.vrdc.org.