Nutcracker brings early Christmas magic

Published 10:50 am Friday, November 26, 2010

Don’t wait until Christmas to experience the magic of the holidays!

“Unwrap” the joy of Christmas a little early this season with South Georgia Ballet’s upcoming performances of The Nutcracker.

The company will perform the ballet at the Thomasville Municipal Auditorium on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 12, at 2:30 p.m. This marks South Georgia Ballet’s 13th performance of the ballet.

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A Parade of Sweets Children’s Tea is planned for Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Commercial Bank. Two abbreviated outreach matinees designed for school groups will be danced Friday, Dec. 10.

Bainbridge dancer Sawyer Hall will dance various roles in this year’s production, dancing the roles of Soldier, Garland, Bon-Bon and Snow Flurry. She has been a company member for three years.

Also in the production is Audrey Simmons of Bainbridge.

The Nutcracker, staged, choreographed and directed by South Georgia Ballet founder and Artistic Director Alison Bundrick, features the talents of the 57 ballet company members from throughout South Georgia. In addition, the company will welcome guest artists in the roles of Sugarplum Fairy, and Cavalier/Prince. As is tradition, community members join the cast in the roles of Adult Party Guests, Party Boys, Mother Ginger and Arabian Men.

Adult party guests include Joe Novak and his wife, Rene, and Clayton and Lisa Penhallagon. The Novaks and the Penhallagons have performed for several years. The Novaks join their two daughters on stage, who are in the company, and the Penhallagons once recruited their children for The Butler and The Maid.

Jay Jernigan will return to Thomasville as Prince/Cavalier. Founder of Metro Movement Ensemble and an instructor for Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater/Georgia Dance Conservator, he has performed all over the east coast.

The role of Sugarplum Fairy will be performed by South Georgia Ballet alumni dancer Olivia Oglesby, who has charmed local audiences for years with her interpretations of Clara in The Nutcracker, White Rabbit in “Alice in Wonderland,” and most recently last season as Rose Queen in The Nutcracker.

Bundrick notes, “It is such a thrill to welcome Olivia back to our stage. Having a dancer trained in our program perform this challenging role is a highlight for her dance career and a testament to the integrity of our program.”

The dancers from South Georgia Ballet, who range in age from 8-18, will all dance multiple roles in the ballet.

Thomasville native Katherine Herndon, a senior at Brookwood School and a company member for eight years, will appear as Clara.

South Georgia Ballet, founded in Cairo in 1998 by Bundrick, is celebrating its 13th season. Its school of dance, South Georgia Performing Arts, provides dance instruction in four studios: in Cairo at the founding studios, at the Thomasville Cultural Center, in Bainbridge at Bainbridge College and in Moultrie on the historic downtown square. Each spring and fall students from the school of dance audition for the Ballet Company. Company dancers receive further training with regional and national instructors and choreographers as well as additional performing opportunities.

For tickets to The Nutcracker, call the South Georgia Ballet at 229-378-ARTS (2787) or visit the online box office Nutcracker tickets range from $10 to $15 and reserved seating is available.

Additionally, the company is still accepting donations to their Friends of the Ballet program. Gifts are tax deductible as allowed by law and can be made via the Internet or by calling the studio. For more information, visit or call 327-ARTS (2787).