An upcoming series of shows at the Bankhead Theater is set to showcase the classic holiday two-act ballet, "The Nutcracker". Performed by local performing arts group, Valley Dance Theatre, the show highlights the magic of Christmas and child-like joy.
Audience members will be able to enjoy the iconic ballet story accompanied by the dance company's own pit orchestra musicians. Show dates on the stage in downtown Livermore begin this Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 10-11) and continue through Dec. 16-18, at alternating time slots.
Valley Dance Theatre was originally founded in 1980 by Betsy Hausburg and Penny Tomasello with the intention of providing creative, affordable and quality dancing opportunities to performers in the area. Yearly, the company and its orchestra present two separate full-length productions.
Mark Gervase is a longtime member of the dance company. This year he will be the show's new Drosselmeyer, a character who is the Nutcracker Prince's uncle.
"It's wonderful to be a part of a dance company like this, I'm happy to be participating," Gervase said. "The mission really is to enrich and encourage our performers and create a welcoming atmosphere for them to present their artistic abilities."
Gervase has also danced as an Opening Father and Papa Gigone. "The Nutcracker" production is a favorite among the company, according to Gervase.
"This year, 'The Nutcracker' will no doubt be a spectacular show for those interested in live performance art or not. We welcome all to come watch our talented cast members," Gervase added.
Alex Foster, an Amador Valley High School freshman, is an incoming cast member for the production. In previous years, he began working backstage and now this time around, he joins the cast as Nutcracker and Opening Boy.
Foster's family has been involved with Valley Dance Theatre for over 10 years. His sisters and mother play vital roles in the group, being dancers and an organizer respectively. He is one of many students in the dance program to have deep and significant roots there.
To find out more information about Valley Dance Theatre and "The Nutcracker" performances during the next two weekends, visit valleydancetheatre.com/the-nutcracker.