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ECC hosts Civic Ballet ‘Nutcracker’ show

The Nutcracker is standard ElgCommunity College’s holiday programs.  |  Courtesy ECC

The Nutcracker is a standard of Elgin Community College’s holiday programs. | Courtesy of ECC

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‘The Nutcracker’

♦ Dec. 8 and 9

♦ Tickets, $20-$32

♦ (847) 622-0300

For many, it just isn’t Christmas without “The Nutcracker,” and this year the Elgin Community College Arts Center is bringing one of the most acclaimed and beloved versions of the story to the stage this weekend. The Ruth Page Civic Ballet presents Ruth Page’s classic staging of “The Nutcracker” at 3 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9.

Since 1965, the ballet’s full-length interpretation of the timeless holiday story has been seen by millions and become a tradition in the Chicago area. Meredith Seeley, who plays the role of the Snow Queen in the production, says show’s status as a Christmas staple stems from how the story captivates young and old. “This story just never gets

old, people just want to hear it again and again,” she says. “I imagine that it continues to gain audiences and retain audiences because it’s something that people look forward to on Christmas.”

Seeley is one of several guest dancers who are joining the Ruth Page Civic Ballet for this performance, including former Joffrey Ballet dancers Ariel Cisneros and Jennifer Goodman and former River North Dance Chicago company member Luke Manley.

The rest of the cast consists of dozens of company dancers from the Chicago area and more than two dozen young dancers ranging from 6 to 13. Seeley says the experience many of the company have with each other will show through in the quality of the performances.

“This particular group of dancers — the majority of the soloists and the principals – I’ve danced with them many times and I feel that we have an incredible chemistry because not only are we friends, but we’ve worked together so often on stage that we come together in a grand performance,” Seeley said. “We all say that quite frequently and we

feel quite blessed to dance together.”

That kind of chemistry is especially important for a role like Seeley’s, as the Snow Queen dances with a partner on several occasions. “With this role, you have to make sure that you’re not only ready to go on stage, but because you’re dancing with a partner, you have to make sure you’re connected with your partner before you go on stage,” she

said. “This particular role is one of my favorites, I’ve always enjoyed dancing as the Snow Queen.”

Seeley said audiences can expect to see a vivid spectacle on stage, filled with winter wonder and colorful characters, as well as the familiar music and intricate choreography that the production has become known for dating all the way back to its original performances at the Arie Crown Theater at McCormick Place. “I would describe it as

classic and kid-friendly and colorful,” she said. “It’s one of the greatest productions of ‘The Nutcracker’ I’ve ever seen.”

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