BROOKLYN BUZZ: “The Nutcracker” returns to Bay Ridge

December 9, 2011 Heather Chin
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In the canon of Christmas stories and shows, The Nutcrackerballet is a universal and undisputed classic, bringing itscombination of fantasy and beauty to performances the world over.For the past 18 years, it has been something of a holiday traditionevery December for Brooklyn families to head over to Poly PrepCountry Day School to enjoy the ballet, presented by local dancersfrom the Vicky Simegiatos Dance Company.

This year’s two performances will be inside Poly Prep’s RichardPerry Theatre on Sunday, December 18 – at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. -andwill again feature over a dozen local youth aged six to 18, plusguest artists from the New York City Ballet, such as returningdancers Jared Angle and Jenifer Ringer. The Sugar Plum Fairy willbe portrayed by principal dancer Simone Messmer.

To meet demand, there will be an additional performance onMonday, December 19, especially for school groups.

Asked what is so special about the Poly Prep Nutcrackerperformances that keep people coming back for more, dancer anddance company artistic director Vicky Simegiatos explained that itis a combination of the company’s reputation for bringing qualityballet to Bay Ridge and the audience’s desire to see such abeautiful piece with a Christmas story highlighted.

Plus we bring guests from the NYC Ballet, said Simegiatos, whois herself a professional dancer formerly with the American BalletTheatre. We’re the only ones who give the same quality as inLincoln Center. The same people who perform there are performing inour production. It is a great feeling that we are able to bringthis to the community.

What this ‘Nutcracker’ especially has to offer is the intimacyof the theater – 400 seats – and that we’re all neighbors, addedKaren Shapiro, secretary of the executive board. That’s whatbrings people back again.

The classic nature of the Simegiatos production of TheNutcracker also helps attract people unfamiliar with ballet,explained Shapiro.

A lot of people are doing turns on it – hip hop, jazz – butthis is classical, en pointe, paying reverence to the traditions ofballet, said Shapiro. It’s a great place to [introduce it] tochildren. Also, in the city, it’s very hard for children to sitthrough a production [quietly]. Here, it’s close quarters, mucheasier to appreciate it and sit through.

Commitment to Brooklyn residents also plays a role in the magicof the dance company, a nonprofit that was founded 29 years agowith the sole purpose of raising cultural interest in thecommunity, said Simegiatos, who noted that she and her daughter,Matina, now enroll and teach over 600 students, many of whomreceived scholarships, in their schools throughout Bay Ridge andBensonhurst.

Tickets are available at the Vicky Simegiatos Performing ArtsCenter, on the second floor of 7110 Third Avenue, open weekdaysafter 5 p.m. and all day Saturdays. Call beforehand at 718-680-0944to ensure that staff will be there to assist you.

Before December 15, tickets can be purchased through the mailat: VSDC, P.O. Box 09-0151, Brooklyn, NY 11209. Enclose a stamped,self-addressed envelope and a note with the following information,typed or printed clearly: Name, address with zip code, daytimephone, email, date and time of performance (December 18 at 1 p.m.or 6 p.m.), number of tickets, and ticket price ($35 or $25).

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