It is getting closer to the holidays, which means Tyler Junior College Dance Academy is preparing to perform in the 24th annual “Nutcracker” Ballet.
Many auditioned in September to be part of the magical production. Anyone from the community was welcome to audition. Children from six years old to adults will be performing.

“I’m excited because there are a lot of talented dancers and actors in it. It is so special because it is a community event rather than just a TJC event,” said Justine Pojanowski, TJC professor and dance coordinator.

The “Nutcracker” was rewritten by French writer, Alexandre Dumas, which is based on E.T.A Hoffman’s work “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” Dumas’s purpose was to rewrite it in a way that would appeal to children.

He called on composer, Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, to compose the music for the play and choreographer, Marius Petipa, to create the ballet and together they made what is now the worldwide, traditional ballet the “Nutcracker.”

The story is about a 16-year-old girl, Clara, who receives a magical handmade nutcracker from her Uncle Drosselmeyer on Christmas Eve. Fritz, her brother, snatches the doll out of spite causing it to fall on the ground and break.

Uncle Drosselmeyer fixes it for Clara and gives it back to her. At midnight, Clara goes to check in on the Nutcracker doll, then that is when the real action begins.

TJC will host the ballet this year. It is a great production and audiences can expect a few changes.

“I’m very enthused. We will have a new backdrop, and TJC student, Trey Browning, will be making a Nutcracker prince head and fresh choreography,” Pojanowski said.

The new back drop was created by Bullard artist and former TJC student, Debbie Willbanks. It took her about 11 days to finish the Victorian living room; which is 22 feet long, and 42 feet wide.

Willbanks had never painted anything as big as this before and decided to take a risk and go for it.

“I really enjoyed doing it. It was so fun but hard yet it didn’t seem that way because I enjoyed every minute of it,” Willbanks said.

The “Nutcracker” ballet performances will be Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. First performance will be on Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, 2p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 2, 2 p.m. All shows will be in Wise Auditorium at TJC.

Tickets will go on sale on Thursday, Nov. 1. Reserved seating only. Students with an I.D. and kids six years old and younger are $9 and adults are $12.

For more contact information contact Justine Pojanowski at 903-510-2483 or call to order tickets at 903-510-2200.

Glenda Alverado

Staff Writer

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