(HACKETTSTOWN, NJ) -- Adventure awaits when a young girl’s dream of a magical Nutcracker hits the stage at the Lackland Performing Arts Center, December 14, 15 and 16 in Hackettstown. Over 45 talented dancers from Northampton, PA, and Hunterdon, Morris, Sussex, Warren counties in NJ and have earned roles in the New Jersey Civic Youth Ballet’s (NJCYB) new production of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.
The 2018 performance will be the production debut for the NJCYB’s new Executive Director Alexandra Thorpe. A fresh spin on this classic tale will feature all new, original choreography by Alexandra Thorpe, Ashley Feyrer, and Erin Usawicz. Both Ms. Thorpe and Ms. Feyrer performed in the NJCYB’s inaugural Nutcracker in 2000 and are delighted to breathe new life into this holiday favorite.
The coveted role of Clara will be shared by Madison Kovach of Andover, and Maya Papendick of Stanhope. This will be the first appearance as Clara for both young dancers. Performing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, will be guest artist Milena Garcia. Hailing from Matanzas Cuba, Ms. Garcia received her ballet training from the famed National Ballet School in Cuba and was a gold medalist at the World Ballet Competition in EAU. Sought after as a soloist and guest performer, she has appeared with Florida Classical Ballet Company, Rochester City Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and Oklahoma City Ballet.
Ilya Kozadayev of St. Petersburg, Russia will dance the role of the Nutcracker Prince. He received his dance training from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia, The School of American Ballet in New York City, and John Cranko Ballet Academy in Stuttgart, Germany. Mr. Kozadayev has danced with numerous prestigious ballet companies in the United States including Boston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, and most recently with Houston Ballet. He also performed as a soloist with the Colorado Ballet, and as a principal dancer with Columbia Classical Ballet.
The role of Arabian Coffee will be danced by Sara Segar and Sabatino Verlezza. Ms. Segar, originally from New Jersey was a founding member of NJCYB where she originated the role of the Clara Puppet. After graduating from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, she attended the Ailey School on full scholarship, performing Memoria with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater during their New York City Center Season in 2010. In 2011, at the age of 19, Ms. Segar joined RIOULT Dance NY and has toured nationally and internationally with the company. Her partner, Sabatino Verlezza grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio. He received his BFA in Dance from Kent State University, where he graduated summa cum laude with honors from the National Honors Society for Dance Arts. He began his dance education at the Cleveland San Jose Ballet/Cleveland School of Dance and continued his training with Nancy Lushington and his parents Barbara and Sabatino Verlezza. Mr. Verlezza joined RIOULT Dance NY in 2012 and performs nationally and internationally with the company. Both Ms. Segar and Mr. Verlezza are appearing courtesy of RIOULT Dance NY.
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An enchanting ballet and holiday favorite, the Nutcracker is a classic production for all ages. Treat your family and friends to this unique holiday tale. Performances will take place at the beautiful Sitnik Theater, located in the Lackland Center at Centenary College in Hackettstown on December 14 at 7:00pm, December 15 at 12:00pm and 5:00pm, and December 16 at 3:00pm. For tickets call the box office at 908-979-0900 or purchase online at www.centenarystageco.org.
New Jersey Civic Youth Ballet (NJCYB) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing dance as an art form through education and professional performances while fostering individual growth and arts awareness. NJCYB provides the platform for young performers to have the capacity to seek opportunities that they otherwise would not consider.
NJCYB has gained a reputation of exceptional artistry as they continue to strive towards making a tremendous impact in New Jersey Arts. Signing on as Executive Director in 2018, Alexandra Thorpe brings a wealth of experience graduating cum laude from Butler University with a BA in Dance Pedagogy. Ms. Thorpe danced and worked with various contemporary ballet companies including the New Jersey Civic Youth Ballet, Insight Dance Company, Nimbus Dance Works, and the Kennedy Dancers.
In addition to NJCYB’s ever popular annual “Nutcracker” performance, growing interest in the New Jersey Civic Youth Ballet has initiated the expansion of the Company’s repertoire to include “Peter and the Wolf”, “Carnival of the Animals”, “The Tales of Beatrix Potter”, “Coppelia”, “Hansel and Gretel”, and more.