For the past 22 years the dance department at Tyler Junior College has been proud to present the classical ballet “The Nut- cracker.”

The cast of 127 includes TJC students, academy dancers and people from the community. The auditions for “The Nutcracker” were held Sept. 11 in the TJC dance studio located in the Ornelas Health and Physical Education Center.

“No experience is required,” said Academy of Dance Director Jennifer Bailey. Anyone could audition for the production.

“We have people with no experience whatsoever and we have people who have been dancing since they were 5 years old,” said Bailey.

Clayton Richardson is going to be the Nutcracker Prince, Natalie Sampson will be playing Clara and Malorie Forney will be the Snow Queen.

“Shannon and Christa Beacham are two special guests who are gong to be performing in ‘ The Nutcracker’ this year,” said Ashlee Persing, master of The Academy.

Shannon Beacham is currently a dancer for the Ballet Con- certo of Fort Worth and also teaches ballet for Rhythm Nation Studios. Christa Beachman is a ballet director at Rhythm Nation Studios and instructor at Dance Depot in Fort Worth.

“Christa will be playing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Shannon is playing the Cavalier,” said Persing.

They also do a special performance for children, home- schooled students and nursing home residents. This is a way for the students who are performing to give back to the community.

“The kids that come do have to pay, but it’s a reduced rate,” said Persing, who added that they send an educational package to the schools and homeschooled kids who are going to attend the event.

The package consists of worksheets and fun things the kids can do to have a better understanding of what the story “The Nutcracker” is about.

“They come with such good energy, we are so excited to see them,” said Bailey. Bailey said she loves the energy the kids bring when they come to see the show. She said they are the best audience because of their enthusiasm.

“The Nutcracker” ballet is based on the story “The Nut- cracker and the King of Mice,” written by E.T.A. Hoffman.

The Nutcracker is performed at the UT-Tyler Cowan Center Dec. 4 at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the UT- Tyler Cowan Center box office or online.

The prices for evening performances range from $10 to $55. Student rates are from $10 to $20. For more information about tickets, contact the box office at (903) 566-7424.

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