The Nutcracker

Houston Ballet's annual production of The Nutcracker is more than a way to celebrate the holidays, it's often a way to meet the newest and brightest stars of the company. That's true for Chinese star Jun Shuang Huang, the company's newest principal dancer. This is the first time that Huang will perform the role of the Prince, and according to Phillip Broomhead, the company's ballet master and a dancer, it's a role he seems to have been made for. "He's wonderful. He just had to step onstage in a pair of white tights, and a prince was born," says Broomhead, who himself performs as Dr. Drosselmeyer, Clara's uncle who gives her the nutcracker doll at a Christmas party. "[Huang] makes it all seem so effortless."

Not that everything is always perfection onstage. During a past performance as Drosselmeyer, Broomhead had a costume malfunction. Not his own, mind you. Drosselmeyer performs magic tricks for the children during the party, and one of the tricks involves scarves that are hidden in a girl's dress. "Somehow the scarves got lost in the dress somewhere," he laughs. "There's this whole set of music that goes on what seemed like forever, and there were no scarves. So I finally just picked up the poor girl and spun her around; I never felt so awful in my whole life. Let's just say it was not a great moment in ballet history." Here's hoping all the scarves are in the proper places today at 7:30 p.m. Through December 26. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas. For a full schedule, call 713-227-2787 or visit $19 to $105.

Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 26. Continues through Dec. 26, 2010


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