Delta Festival Ballet, the largest professional ballet company in the state, will present its 30th Annual Nutcracker this December.
Performances are set for New Orleans, Slidell and Leesville. DFB’s Nutcracker is a lavish production with a cast of 130 dancers, elaborate sets, beautiful costumes and superb dancing by the company’s professional artists.
The performance of the Nutcracker in Leesville on Dec. 13 is sponsored by the Vernon Arts Council. The performance will take place at 7 p.m. in the Leesville High School Auditorium. This holiday classic, with the famous Tchaikovsky music, was choreographed by British born, Richard Munro, who based his choreography on the original staging of the London Festival Ballet.
The Leesville performance will feature guest artists, Martha Chamberlain, principal with the Pennsylvania, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, with her husband, Jonathan Stiles, of  the same company, as her Cavalier. The cast includes: former New Orleanian and Delta soloist, Jessica Fry McAlister, performing the Snow Pas de Deux in Act I and the Arabian Dance in Act II with her frequent partner, Ramon Gaitan. Jessica Touchet, a native of New Orleans, former Delta soloist, and most recently a soloist with the Smuin Ballet of San Francisco, returns to perform in the Marzipan divertissement in Act II, and as the female Soldier Doll in Act I. Cutting Jahncke, a well-known and respected local actor, will perform as Herr Drosselmeyer, a role that DFB audiences have enjoyed for over 20 years. Candice Holley, Slidell resident and Delta soloist, performs as the lead dancer in Waltz of the Flowers.
Delta Festival Ballet has been touring the state since 1981 with this critically acclaimed production. During this 30-year period it has been enjoyed by a few hundred thousand people including multitudes of Louisiana students attending the especially crafted school performances, of which Leesville is one. Students from the Joan Kathey School of Dance will be performing with the professional dance troupe.
The performance is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Arts Council of Central Louisiana.
Tickets are $15 each for adults and $7 each for students and are available at the door the evening of the performance. For information call the Vernon Parish Tourism Commission at 337-238-0783.