New York Dance Theatre will present its 41st season of “The Nutcracker” at Hofstra University in Hempstead on Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17 with performances each day at noon and 5 p.m.
Local young dancers will share the stage with New York City Ballet stars Erica Pereira (a Northport native) and Daneil Ulbricht. The girls, students at the Ohman School of Ballet in Commack, perform multiple roles in the iconic holiday story ballet including children in the Party Scene, Toy Soldiers and Mice in the Battle Scene, Snowflakes, Angels, and various confections in the Land of Sweets.
Eileen Huntsman, a seventh grader at East Northport Middle School from Northport, plays the central role of “Clara” in two of the four performances at Hofstra University. Olivia Telis, an eigth grader at Candlewood Middle School will play the role of “Clara” in the other two performances. Amelia Novellino, a sixth grader at St. Patrick’s School in Smithtown and Elizabeth Pau, a fifth grader at Sawmill Intermediate in Commack, share the pivotal role of Clara’s brother “Fritz,” who breaks Clara’s Nutcracker and sets the plot in motion, each in two of the four performances.
This year’s cast includes young dancers from the area as follows: Elodie Hennessy and Violet Hennessy of Centerport; Amari Bhalla, Anna Clemente, Melina Cuccia, Elysena De Stefano, Brynn Farino, Anna Gross, Isabel Gross, Sofia Gross, Marilyn Ihasz, Emma Martir, Isabella Song, Alyssa Tavares, Sara Tobia, Nina Van Zandt, and Vivienne Vasquez of Commack; Priya Chan, Esther Cheong, Mikaela Gluck, Arpi Harutyunyan, Aviva Hellman, Galina Hellman, Ariel Kerley, Hazel Maccarone, Elizabeth Pau, Carina San José, Adrianna Stucchio, Annabelle Telis, and Olivia Telis of Dix Hills; Kaia Abdulkhalek, Amelie Brody, Knox Brody, Addison Candelaria, and Valentina Linardic of East Northport; Angelina Zhang of East Setauket; Seraphina Moger of Greenlawn; Sarah Shao and Charlotte Stratton of Huntington; Magdalen Schaefer of Kings Park; Olivia Deng of Melville; Mary Calefato of Nesconset; Eileen Huntsman, Penelope Moloney, and Henley Nemeth of Northport; Laila DarConte, Amelia Novellino, Chloe Foster, Samara Kolodny, Molly Haft, and Evelyn McCaughey of Smithtown; Sonya Russo of St. James; and Mira Chang of Stony Brook.
Through the years, NYDT founder Frank Ohman (1939-2019), a former student and soloist under George Balanchine, set his staging after his mentor’s iconic Lincoln Center version, and the production includes the original Sugarplum Fairy Pas de Deux from George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker ® by permission of the George Balanchine Trust. In addition, Ohman created original dances and scenes that set his production apart from others on Long Island.
New York City Ballet soloist Erica Pereira – a Long Island native – and principal dancer Daniel Ulbricht will perform as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier in all performances. Mr. Ulbricht also serves as an artistic advisor for the Ohman School of Ballet, a division of New York Dance Theatre, and has been a recurring master class instructor at the school.
With the elegant Christmas Party Scene, the drama of the magical growing Christmas Tree, the Battle of the Toy Soldiers and Giant Mice, the live snowstorm, and the brilliant dancing in the Land of the Sweets, “The Nutcracker” appeals to all ages. In all, a cast of 80 children, pre-professional and professional dancers will bring this classic story ballet to life on the stage of the John Cranford Adams Playhouse. The children’s roles are performed by students of the Frank Ohman School of Ballet in Commack and the School of American Ballet (the home school of New York City Ballet). New this year under the direction of NYDT /Ohman School of Ballet alumna/Executive Artistic Director Nicole Loizides is a semi-immersive pre-show experience that invites audience members into the Silberhaus home before the curtain rises, with the sights, smells and sounds of the Christmas Eve party that is the setting for the ballet. Loizides returns to the NYDT Nutcracker stage for the first time in over a decade, playing the role of Frau Silberhaus.
The 41st season of “The Nutcracker” kicks off the company’s 50th anniversary on Long Island and the annual holiday tradition the start of a year of revival and growth. As Loizides explains, “This year’s theme is about bringing it home! We are bringing to light the direction of the school and company as founder Frank Ohman intended. I am rooted in the vision of bringing a new awareness to dance on Long Island, from classical to folkloric to contemporary. Our roots are alive, our repertoire is expanding, and our outreach is wide. We are bringing new works to life by world renowned choreographers, restaging many of Frank Ohman’s classics, and staging works by dance icons including George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Agnes De Mille and Jerrome Robbins.”
Tickets for this full production ballet are $45.00 and $35.00 (seniors and children 12 and under) plus $3 fee, available at www.ohmanballet.org or 631.462.0964. Group discounts are available for 15 or more tickets in a single show and for Scout troops (ordered by phone and with Scout ID) as well as photo opportunities with specific ticket packages. Details about Covid-19 protocols for audience members are outlined on the website and are subject to change according to local government guidelines. A small portion of ticket sales goes to New York Dance Theatre’s Developpé program introducing dance to at-risk youth, foster families and children in need through workshops, classes, performances, mentors and scholarships in a partnership with Hope for Youth Long Island, Mommas House and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island.
About the Frank Ohman School of Ballet
The Frank Ohman School of Ballet was founded in 1979 by Frank Ohman (1939-2019), former soloist at New York City Ballet (NYCB). Located in Commack, the school serves as a training ground for promising young dancers and offers aspiring students the opportunity to learn classical ballet in the style passed down from George Balanchine to his protégé, Frank Ohman. The school is a non-competition, non-recital school, focusing on proper classical ballet technique. A division of the New York Dance Theatre, Inc., the Ohman School has become an integral part of the company and is one of the very few not-for-profit ballet schools in the region. It offers three studios with state-of-the art flooring to Balanchine specifications and a highly qualified teaching staff. Artistic advisors for the school include New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht and retired New York City Ballet principal Ask la Cour, who served as Artistic Director of the school following Frank Ohman’s passing, as well as former Dance Theatre of Harlem principal Da’Von Doane.