“The Nutcracker” returns to the area Dec. 16-17

LA SALLE - Musical director and conductor Lucia Matos and the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra will present Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” ballet on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. Performances will take place at the La Salle-Peru High School Auditorium.

IVSO will be joined by dancers from the Dance Center, LaSalle; Gray’s School of Dance, Ottawa; Ottawa Dance Academy; and the Illinois Valley Youth Choir.

“The Nutcracker” is based on Alexandre Dumas’ French version of “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E.T.A. Hoffmann. The story invites us into a child’s world filled with anticipation. This tale of magic and transformation can be enjoyed on many levels, which unfolds throughout life and reflects one’s awareness that things are not always as they seem.

First performed on Dec. 18, 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia, “The Nutcracker” has been a Christmas-time classic performed throughout the world and is many people’s first ballet. The entire Illinois Valley is again invited to join in the magic of this spectacular production. See toys that dance and come to life, battle mice and even a Christmas tree that grows before your eyes. The audience accompanies Clara as she dances through her world of fantasy and experiences the magic of the nutcracker, all accompanied by the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra.

After doing some research on the history of “The Nutcracker” in the Illinois Valley, IVSO found that two performances of the ballet were presented in December 1969. They were staged in cooperation with the Illinois Dance Company, newly formed under the auspices of the Orchestra Association. Bob Whipple was resident conductor at the time and Patty Gray, Ottawa dance teacher, danced in the production at IVCC.

Decades later, between 1992 and 2001, full productions of “The Nutcracker” were performed at irregular intervals. Since 2005, the ballet has been staged locally every two years.

This year’s performances are sponsored by Spring Valley City Bank and Eureka Savings Bank, and partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Season sponsors are Ning Communications and Ottawa Radio.

Admission is by reserved ticket only: $20 adults and $5 children (12 and under). Send a check payable to IVSO and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: IVSO Nutcracker, c/o Larry Ault, 1300 Briarcrest Drive, Ottawa IL 61350. Tickets may also be ordered online at www.ivso.org.

When ordering, please specify performance date (Dec. 16 or Dec. 17), main floor or balcony, and how many adult and child tickets are needed. Orders received after Dec. 8 will be held at the door. The L-P auditorium is accessible.

For more information about these performances and upcoming concerts, visit www.ivso.org.

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