The Spin

Who’s who and what’s what in dance this month

Ballet Fantastique’s An American Christmas Carol. Photo by Stephani Urso.
Ballet Fantastique’s An American Christmas Carol. Photo by Stephani Urso.

This holiday season, stages beckon with dance offerings for the young and young at heart. Ballet Fantastique rolls out its new holiday tradition, An American Christmas Carol, choreographed by Donna Marisa Bontrager and Hannah Bontrager. This jazzy retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic tale sets the ghostly story in post-WW II America and features live music by jazz singer Halie Loren. Performances run Dec. 12-14 at the Hult Center; $17-$49. Folks on the coast can catch the show Friday, Dec.19, at the Florence Events Center; $16-$24.

The Eugene Ballet Company is busy touring across the Western states throughout December but comes home to the Hult to perform perennial favorite, The Nutcracker. With a beloved score by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, played live by OrchestraNEXT, and exquisitely choreographed by Toni Pimble, this dance confection offers something for everyone. This season, The Nutcracker features a special guest:  UO faculty member and author Lauren Kessler has been rehearsing and training with EBC and will fulfill a lifelong dream by performing in this show. Catch The Nutcracker Dec. 19-21, $15-$53.

For young audiences and their grownup counterparts, the Eugene Ballet Company and the Eugene Youth Ballet team up to offer their annual Nutcracker Tea with storytelling by actor Bill Hulings and special guest, the Sugar Plum Fairy, noon Dec. 20 and 21 in the Hult Center Studio, $20-$25.

The Eugene Youth Ballet shares some cheer in community performances of The Nutcracker in a December library tour with visits to the Springfield Library (4 pm and 5 pm, Dec. 4), the Bethel Library (10:15 am, Dec. 5), the downtown Eugene Public Library (4 pm and 6 pm, Dec. 10) and the Sheldon Library (10:15 am, Dec. 12); all performances are free. The Eugene Youth Ballet also offers fully staged versions of its Nutcracker Dec. 11 and 12 at Elmira High School; $5.

And looking to 2015, D.C.-based Washington Ballet dancer Jared Nelson was recently in town to set the rhythmically challenging, physically demanding work Fluctuating Hemlines for the Eugene Ballet Company. After visiting a rehearsal of this lively, evocative piece, we can’t wait to ring in the New Year and see it in its entirety, when it accompanies EBC’s rock ballet Tommy. Stay tuned for details.

Got a scoop on the local dance scene? Email Rachael Carnes at