‘The Nutcracker’ due for return engagement

Yukon’s Fine Arts Center will turn into the land of sugarplums on Dec. 2-3 as the Central Oklahoma Ballet presents its annual performance of “The Nutcracker.”

Debra Doran-Vossen, the artistic director of the ballet company, said this is 23rd year for the staging of the ballet based off of German author E. T. A. Hoffmann’s 1815 book, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”

This year’s rendition will include more than 60 performers, including dozens of local children and adults. The key performers will be from the Tulsa Ballet Co., the same group who performed last year.

The professional dancers come from across the world, including Colombia, Brazil, Armenia, Germany and France.

“They are all members of the Tulsa Ballet, and I work closely with them,” Doran-Vossen said. “These are professional principal dancers, which means they are pretty high up in the rank of their ballet company.”

Two performances are planned — Dec. 2 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 3 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 if purchased in advance or $20 at the door.

“We’ve been doing this for 23 year. We started out in a small venue and have graduated to the fine arts auditorium,” said Doran-Vossen.

The ballet company was formed 23 years ago as the Yukon Civic Ballet, operating out of what is now the Yukon Museum and Art Center.

“We started that ballet to enhance the cultural life of Yukon through the beauty of classical ballet. Its sole purpose was to develop local talent,” she said.

Much of that talent lies with giving young students an opportunity to perform one of the best known ballets with professional dancers and a live orchestra.

Music will be provided by the Oklahoma City Community Orchestra, directed by Irv Wagner.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for the kids and for the audience because you get to see top-notch dancers that you don’t normally get to see in our community or the area, and it’s at a reasonable price,” she said.

Many of those participating in the ballet have been involved since its inception. Among those expected to participate are Maggie Fuchs, Larry Taylor, Phil Carson, Ginger LaCroix and Earlene Smaistrla.

Doran-Vossen, who has a degree in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma, said the performance benefits Yukon by bringing a form of dance to the community.

“It really is a passion to be able to provide something for the community that is in the arts. The cultural life of a community says a lot about the community. ‘The Nutcracker’ makes Yukon a better place to live,” she said.

Doran-Vossen also said that some many people enjoy “The Nutcracker.”

“It is such a beautiful art form. Most people who don’t like the ballet will go to ‘The Nutcracker.’ They love ‘The Nutcracker.’ It is one ballet that appeals to everyone,” she said.

The event is funded through a combination of ticket sales, grants and donations. Among those helping fund the project are the National Endowment for the Arts, the Oklahoma Arts Council, the Kerr Foundation and BancFirst.

“This is expensive,” she said. “We do a lot of fundraising to do this. Every year, we all volunteer and work really, really hard” to make the project a success.

But the effort is worth it, she said.

AT A GLANCE

“The Nutcracker”

When: 8 p.m. Dec. 2; 2 p.m. Dec. 3

Where: Yukon Fine Arts Center

Tickets: Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at any YNB location or at www.centralokballet.com

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