Grand Junction Symphony’s presentation of The Nutcracker returns this Holiday season for three performances.

A holiday celebration to share! Dancing toys, mischievous mice, waltzing flowers and sparkling snowflakes dance to Tchaikovsky’s sumptuous score performed by the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra for three performances on Friday, December 12th at 7:30pm and Saturday, December 13th at 2:00pm and 7:30pm. All performances will be held at the Grand Junction High School Auditorium.

The Nutcracker, a classical ballet in two acts based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, follows the enchanting journey of young Clara, who receives a Nutcracker as a gift at a Christmas Eve party. Her nutcracker is ultimately transformed into a handsome young prince, who leads her through an enchanted forest and on to the Palace of Sweets, where she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy. Among the ballet’s most famous and memorable moments are a battle between toy soldiers and overgrown mice, a Christmas tree that grows to huge heights, the pas de deux of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, and a shimmering snow scene.

Members of Absolute Dance and Inspire Dance along with Colorado Mesa University dancers have been rehearsing every Saturday since this summer and make up the core group of about 60 performers in this year’s production. They are under the direction of Colorado Mesa University Theatre Arts Professor Jeremy Franklin and choreographer Alicia Laumann who is Visiting Professor of Dance at Colorado Mesa University.

This year’s Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier will be danced by Yumelia Garcia and Mauro Villanueva from the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. Ms. Garcia and Mr. Villanueva will be performing in Grand Junction thanks to a grant received from the Grand Junction Commission on Arts & Culture.

Born in Venezuela, Ms. Garcia received her professional training in Caracas at the Escuela de Ballet Gustavo Franklin. She joined the National Ballet of Caracas at the age of 15 under the direction of Vicente Nebrada and was promoted to soloist one year later.

Ms. Garcia began her U.S. Career with Heinz Pohl at Ohio Ballet. She then performed as a principal dancer with the Milwaukee Ballet where she had a ballet created for her: Scheherazade by Katherine Possen. Ms. Garcia then moved on to Ballet Florida where she was featured in principal roles in contemporary and classical works, most recently as Ben Strevenson’s Cleopatra.

Her remarkable versatility, technical prowess and intensity have led her to perform classical roles in full length ballets such as Kitri in Don Quixote, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Giselle and Carmen in their title roles. Ms. Garcia has also performed contemporary lead roles in pieces by George Balanchine, Alonzo Ving, Cho San Goh, David Parson, Jean-Paul Comelin, Lar Lubevich and Christopher Weeldon. She was invited to be a part of The Trey McIntyre Project at White Oak in 2006, and has performed at prestigious festivals such as Jacob’s Pillow, Vail International Festival and Wolf Trap.

Mr. Villanueva grew up in San Antonio, Texas.  He began his dance training at the age of six with Shawn Knife.  At age nine he joined the University of Incarnate Word Ballet School directed by Buddy and Susan Trevino, Co-Founders of The Joffrey Workshop Texas.  He trained there for seven years and attended The Joffrey Workshop Texas in the summers.  In 1998 he attended a summer course and consequently studied for two years at the Nutmeg Conservatory in Connecticut.  In August of 2000, Mr. Villanueva joined the Joffrey Ballet as an apprentice and two years later received a full company contract.

During his years at the Joffrey Ballet he danced many ballets throughout the world by renown choreographers, was a union representative for the artists twice, and was one of two dancers chosen to participate in the search for the new artistic director.  He has appeared as a representative for the Joffrey Ballet and on television and radio in Chicago, San Antonio, and Manila, Philippines.

Special thanks to the Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture, Rocky Mountain Orthopaedic Associates, Columbine Caregivers and Juniper Family Medicine for their continued support.

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