NYC ballet dancers prepare to bring 'The Nutcracker' to ETX - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

NYC ballet dancers prepare to bring 'The Nutcracker' to ETX


East Texas dancers are getting ready for the performance of a lifetime as they celebrate the 25th anniversary of TJC's The Nutcracker ballet production.

The Tyler Junior College Academy of Dance puts on the ballet every year but there are several special additions to this year's performance.

The East Texas Symphony Orchestra is performing the music live and two principal dancers from the New York City Ballet are playing the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. 

"We represent a very specific approach to classical ballet and performing it the way we do is at a very high level. I think it's a responsibility of ours to sort of bring that here to Tyler to sort of give a sense of what this art form can be," says Adrian Danchig-Waring, a principal dancer at the New York City Ballet. 

Abi Stafford and Adrian Danchig-Waring have been dancing in The Nutcracker since they were in elementary school. They got special permission from the New York City Ballet to spend this weekend dancing in TJC's 25th anniversary Nutcracker performance. 

"There are all these kids rehearsing and all these parents coming in to do a party scene and we kind of get inserted at the last minute," says Danchig-Waring. 

"We work very hard to make it look easy, but if we make it look easy then we're doing our job," Stafford says. 

The dancers want to make sure everything is perfect. Before rehearsal, they met with the conductor of The East Texas Symphony Orchestra. 

Danchig-Waring says dancing to live music is a fun experience for the audience and the dancers, "You feel like not only are you connected to your partner, to the stage space, but to all the musicians in the pit."

Eager eyes of the young East Texas dancers looked on as the couple practiced.

"I remember being a kid and being very excited when guest artists came to dance for my school. It's a little hard for me to switch it around in my head and now I'm that person," says Stafford.

The dancers say connecting with local dance companies is one of their favorite parts. 


"We always end up feeling like such a part of the communities that we come and dance in and that means a lot to us," says Danchig-Waring. 

They say it's an honor to be welcomed to East Texas to help you celebrate Christmas.

You can catch TJC's Nutcracker performance Saturday at the UT TYler Cowan Center in Tyler. There is a matinee show at 2 p.m. and a show at 7:30 p.m.

To buy tickets to the ballet click here.  

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