"The Nutcracker" is drawing a successful Santa Monica dancer back home for the holidays.
Joy Womack, 18, will dance the glittering Sugar Plum Fairy as a guest artist during three of five Westside Ballet of Santa Monica's Dec. 7-9. In June, she became the first American female to be invited into the esteemed Bolshoi Ballet Company and was also the first American female to be accepted into the Bolshoi Academy’s three-year Russian program.
She began her training in Santa Monica at Westside School of Ballet, under the direction of legendary ballerina Yvonne Mounsey. Womack will dance in memory of Mounsey, a principal New York City Ballet dancer who founded the Westside School of Ballet in Santa Monica in 1967. She died in September at the age of 93.
Mounsey "taught me to enjoy dancing and express my emotions and that was the thing that set me apart in Russia," Womack said.
The artistic direction of this year's staging of "The Nutcracker" will closely follow that of George Balanchine’s original version, passed on by Mounsey, who created the Nutcracker role of Center Spanish during the peak of her career with New York City Ballet.
The traditional full-length ballet in two acts is based on E.T.A. Hoffman's “Nutcracker and the King of Mice,” and is set to P.I. Tchaikovsky’s score, with exuberant choreography and lavish costumes.
"Ours is very true to the story as is reflected in the music and the spirit," Caprice Walker, Associate Artistic Director of Westside’s Nutcracker, said in a press release. "We have all of the elements that audiences look for—the falling snow, a Christmas tree that grows, and that magical moment when the Polichinelle’s pop out from under Mother Ginger’s skirt."
The 2012 Nutcracker will also feature guest artist Erin Rivera-Brennand as the Sugar Plum Fairy. The role of Clara is filled by two Westside Ballet students: Anna Davtyan, a seventh grader at Paul Revere Middle School for Advanced Studies, and Emilia "Milly" Davies, a seventh grader at Corpus Christi School in Pacific Palisades.
Shows are one weekend only, Dec. 7-9, at the Wadsworth Theatre, at 11301 Wilshire Blvd. in Brentwood. Times are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com or at the Wadsworth Box Office one hour prior to show time.
Womack will perform Dec. 7, 5 p.m. Dec 8 and 1 p.m. Dec. 9.