Artistic director Mara Vinson has this suggestion: Go to more than one.
Vinson and co-artistic director Oleg Gorboulev agree that though performances may differ depending upon who is dancing, each will be spectacular.
"What we're most excited about this year is a big lineup of guest artists," Vinson said.
Vinson and Gorboulev are former leading dancers of the Moscow Classical Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet. They have put together a cast of about 100 dancers and brought in some exceptional outside talent to bring the classic story of Clara's Christmas Eve dream to Snohomish County audiences.
There are two casts of guest ballerinas who will share the role of adult Clara: Nancy Richer, from the Suzanne Farrell Ballet in Washington D.C., who will dance in performances in Arlington, and free-lance guest artist Jennifer Safonovs, who will dance the role in the Edmonds and Everett.
"We haven't met Safonovs yet but seen her performances and she looks beautiful and we are excited to meet her," Vinson said.
The Arlington productions will be different from the Edmonds and Everett performances and fans of "The "Nutcracker" should see both and enjoy the difference aspects of each production, Vinson said.
Vinson also likes to brag about returning guest artist Le Yin, who will reprise his role as the Nutcracker Prince.
"He is back by popular demand," said Vinson of Lin, a former principal with the Pacific Northwest Ballet.
New to the cast this year is guest artist and OBT faculty member Frank Borg, who was a dancer with the Kansas City Ballet.
He will be premiering in the role of the mysterious Herr Drosselmeyer.
"He's great and he brings a great energy to the studio," said Vinson who said last year she and Gorboulev made the Dross part more of a dancing part.
In addition to the public performances, the Olympic Ballet Theatre is presenting abridged group matinees at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Byrnes Performing Arts Center in Arlington and at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. Dec. 14 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.
These are hourlong matinees that include Olympic Ballet's family-friendly "Introduction to the Magic of Theatre," which is geared to younger children and helps them learn more about the scenery, costumes, lighting, masks and props of "Nutcracker."
Tickets for the matinees are available by calling 425-774-7570.
Emerald Ballet Theatre: 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Northshore Performing Arts Center, 18125 92nd Ave. NE, Bothell; 425-9842-2471; www.npacf.org; $20 to $35.
Pacific Northwest Ballet: Various times Friday through Dec. 29 at 321 Mercer St., Seattle; 206-441-2424; www.pnb.org. Tickets $25 to $125 for adults and $22 to $113 for kids, by phone, online or at the box office, 301 Mercer Street, Seattle.
Olympic Ballet Theatre: Three locations; 425-774-7570; www.olympicballet.com. Tickets $20, $25 and $30.
Brynes Performing Arts Center: 10:30 a.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday, 18821 Crown Ridge Blvd., Arlington.
Edmonds Center for the Arts: 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.Dec. 14 and 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 15, and at 5 p.m. Dec. 22 at 410 Fourth Ave. N., Edmonds.
Everett Performing Arts Center: 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 22, 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 23 at 2710 Wetmore Ave.
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