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Cast Breathes Local Life into City Ballet's 'Nutcracker'

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RALEIGH — Keeping with the holiday traditions, the Ravenscroft School in North Raleigh was overrun by mice, soldiers, and sugar plum fairies this past weekend with the City Ballet's annual presentation of The Nutcracker.

Guided by Tchaikovsky's classic holiday score, a cast of 75, ranging in age from 7 to 60, breathed local life into The Nutcracker, a much-loved ballet that has become a staple of the holiday season.

The lavish City Ballet production is Sandra Zellinger's growing baby.

"I've been lucky to find people to help me who are exceptionally talented," Zellinger said.

Besides the dancers, actors and stage crew who rehearsed for months for three shows, dozens of parents volunteered to raise the production to near-professional heights.

"Its more than just the dancers," said Tracy Stewart, who plays the Snow Queen. "Their whole families get involved and it's really nice and it brings everybody together."

Margot DeBarmore's needle and thread turned out 27 costumes, including Mother Ginger's dress -- draped with 40 yards of fabric and a hoop that looked more like the roof of the Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena.

"When my daughter got cast as a gumdrop, and they tallied up who knows how to do what, I know how to sew," DeBarmore said.

While the Sugar Plum Fairy and Tarantella are professionals from the Carolina Ballet, the mice, the soldiers and the snowflakes were all amateurs. Reporter: Cullen Browder


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