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Berks Ballet Theater presents ‘The Nutcracker’ at Kutztown University Dec. 16-17

Berks Ballet Theater will presents its 48th rendition of “The Nutcracker,” with accompaniment by the Reading Pops Orchestra, on Dec. 16 at 1 and 6 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 1 and 5 p.m. at Schaeffer Auditorium on the campus of Kutztown University.

Of the upcoming show, BBT Artistic Director, Kelly Barber said: “The goal is to give the attendees the most opulent experience so that they return year after year. The performance will dazzle and mesmerize audiences and from the moment the curtain opens, everyone knows they are in for a sumptuous treat.”

Barber along with BBT’s Ballet Master and Resident Choreographer, Nathan Bland, have co-choreographed the ballet featuring 21 company dancers and 29 students from the company’s namesake, Berks Ballet Theatre Conservatory of Dance.

“Our dancers have all learned new roles and take great pride in making them they’re own,” said Bland, adding, “The real joy comes in seeing the younger dancers take on ‘core’ roles for the first time, newly on pointe, and eager to perform.”

Aaron Smyth, shown performing in Berks Ballet Theater's 2022 "Nutcracker" with Collette Jordan, returns in the role of Cavalier for this year's production, scheduled for Dec. 16-17. (Courtesy of Katie Ging)
Aaron Smyth, shown performing in Berks Ballet Theater’s 2022 “Nutcracker” with Collette Jordan, returns in the role of Cavalier for this year’s production, scheduled for Dec. 16-17. (Courtesy of Katie Ging)

BBT company soloists in this year’s “Nutcracker” include Madisyn Dietrich, Tessa Morrissey and Julia Traffas, all three sharing the coveted role of Clara; Faith Hartman and Kaitlyn Staskel in the roles of Dew Drop Fairy and Mirliton; Evie Romanski and Leah Cochran will share the roles of Mouse Queen, Spanish Chocolate soloist and Arabian Coffee.

BBT fans will recognize seasoned professional dancer Aaron Smyth in the role of the Cavalier. Smyth performed this role in 2022, and most recently dazzled audiences in BBT’s “Sleeping Beauty Suite” in May of this year. Smyth is best known for his associations with American Ballet Theatre II in New York, The Royal Ballet in London and The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago as well as being an original cast member in London’s West End production of “An American In Paris.” Smyth also played the role of the Snow Cavalier in Disney’s “The Nutcracker in the Four Realms” feature film alongside Misty Copeland.

Rounding out the cast of professional dancers is Saaya Pikula Mason as the Sugar Plum Fairy (last seen as Princess Aurora in “Sleeping Beauty Suite”); Daniel Mayo as Herr Drosselmeyer; Blake Krapels as The Nutcracker and Mirliton soloist; Kutztown native Jillian Davis as the Snow Queen; and Alberto Andrae as the Snow King. Both Davis and Andrae dance for Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

For the sixth year, Tchaikovsky’s memorable score will be performed by the Reading Pops Orchestra under the direction of conductor Willis Rapp.

For tickets and additional information, visit or call 610-373-7577.

Source: Berkshire mont

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