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Christmas favorite returns to Auburn stage

‘Nutcracker’ opens Dec. 1 with first of seven performances
By: staff report
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“The Nutcracker”
When: 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec 1; noon and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2; 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8; noon and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9
Where: Placer High School Theater, corner of Agard and High streets, Auburn
Cost: $20 premium; $16 adult standard; $13 child standard (all seats reserved)
Tickets: www.placertheatreballet.org, (916) 630-7820

A beloved holiday tradition returns tomorrow as Placer Theatre Ballet presents “The Nutcracker” in Auburn.
The company, which has been putting in long rehearsal hours at the Conservatory of Dance in Rocklin, features dancers from as young as 5 on up to teens and adults. Rocklin’s Kristen Flowers reprises the role of Clara this year, splitting the role with Lincoln’s Ashley Marvin.
“I’m really excited” said Kristen, who has been with PTB since she was 3 years old or, in “Nutcracker” terms, since she was a Bon-Bon. “I like the costumes and the rehearsals and my friends.”
Dozens of dancers, under the direction of Artistic Director Shea Wing, will take to the stage for the Christmas fantasy that sees Clara survive a battle between soldiers and mice, travel with her prince through the magical kingdom of snow and ice and meet the Sugar Plum Fairy, who rewards Clara and the prince with a presentation of dances.
For Courtney Hanaway of Weimar, this will be her third performance with Placer ballet, but her first Nutcracker. Hanaway, 16, has been dancing since she was 3 years old.
She attends Maidu Independent Study High School but is currently taking a German class at Sierra College, because she plans to apply to the Berlin Ballet School. She will be dancing the Dew Drop and Arabian roles.
 “Dew drop is very classical ballet,” Hanaway said. “The Arabian is very, well, Arabian. It’s a little more neo-classical, modern. I’m really excited. It is a really good performing opportunity.”
Debbie Elsbernd, who serves as production coordinator and whose husband, Roy, is technical director, said that while her daughter, Kira, is now attending the University of British Columbia, they have stayed involved in the family-friendly production.
“This is our 15th ‘Nutcracker,’” she smiled. “This started when our daughter was a mouse, and here we are.”