Local cast of ‘Nutcracker’ polishing its pirouettes

'Butterflies' ages 4 to 7, hover on the steps, getting ready to make their entrance.

Photo by Michelle Unglaub

"Butterflies" ages 4 to 7, hover on the steps, getting ready to make their entrance.

Ballet students from a number of Southwest Florida dance academies as well as adults from the community will leap, twirl and kick into the holiday season in an enduring Christmas classic, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”

The Naples Ballet production, which was staged last year by the Naples Academy of Ballet, has grown to include students from other schools in the brightly costumed fairy tale favorite.

Working with an almost 100 percent local cast, the organization has had to literally dance around each other’s class schedules and work hours. So its first dress rehearsal was a month ahead of the Dec. 15 and 16 performance dates in the performing arts hall of Gulf Coast High School.

“We are changing things up this year with a few interesting surprises from years past,” said Christophe Maraval, artistic director for the Naples Academy of Ballet and choreographer for “The Nutcracker.”

Even if there are some turns to polish yet and some entrances to be devised, it was still an impressive-looking preview, as photos from that dress rehearsal Nov. 17 show.

“All of the hard work from our students and adults will be seen by all come mid-December, and it will be worth it,” promised Toshiko Tompkins, director of the academy.

IF YOU GO

‘The Nutcracker’

What: Tchaikovsky ballet “The Nutcracker,” presented by Naples Ballet

When: 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16

Where: Performing Arts Hall at Gulf Coast High School

Tickets: $10-$25

Information: 239-732-1000

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