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Twelve Superior-area students in Minnesota Ballet's 'Nutcracker'

Sam Neale of Australia performs the Spanish dance from last year, with Katherine Kropid of Superior, back row center, during last year's performance of the Nutcracker. (Photo by Jeff Frey)

When the Minnesota Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" brings alive Manhattan sparkling at the holidays a century ago, the cast includes 12 Superior-area students training at the School of the Minnesota Ballet. Performances are 7 p.m. Dec. 20 and Dec. 21; and 3 p.m. Dec. 22, at the DECC Symphony Hall, with the UMD Festival Orchestra playing the Tchaikovsky score live and the Lake Superior Youth Chorus providing vocal accompaniment.

Conceived and choreographed by Allen Fields, artistic director emeritus, the production features a party scene in an opulent townhouse overlooking Central Park. The battle scene in the townhouse later that night; the snow scene in the glittery park itself, led by the Ice Fairy; and a magical journey to exotic lands of Asian, Arabian, Spanish and Russian dancers, led by the Sugar Plum Fairy.

From Superior High School, tenth-grader Emilia Bustos appears as a Spanish dancer Saturday and a geisha dancer Friday and Sunday. Marshall School tenth-grader Katherine Kropid appears as Madeleine on Saturday and a Spanish dancer in all performances.

From Cathedral School, seventh-grader Julia Heytens appears as a party guest Friday and Sunday; and from Superior Middle School, seventh-grader Chloe Higgins appears as a soldier in all performances. From Great Lakes Elementary School, third-grader Jasmine Wu appears as a caroler at all performances and fourth-grader Natalie Sandor as a caroler Friday and Sunday. From Cooper Elementary School, third-graders Chloe Tafelski and Isabella Blohm appear as carolers in all performances.

Dilan Wells, a tenth-grader at Ashland High School, appears as a geisha dancer Saturday. Appearing as soldiers on Saturday are Mary Pearson, a fifth-grade home schooled student from Iron River, and Erin Clark, a fifth-grader at Northwestern Elementary School from Lake Nebagamon. From South Range, Calyndria Johnson, a seventh-grader at Northwestern Middle School, appears as a soldier Friday and Sunday.

Tickets, $20-42 for adults, $15-32 for students, and $13-27 for children 12 and younger, and may be purchased at the DECC ticket office and all Ticketmaster outlets. Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more.

Visit or call 218-529-3742.