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Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker

For ballerinas, the winter holidays mean one thing: The Nutcracker. Every year all over the United States, dancers depict the story of young Clara’s Christmas Eve journey through the Land of Snow and the Kingdom of Sweets. Principal dancer Amy Fote is no exception. She’s performing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the 20th-anniversary run of Houston Ballet’s The Nutcracker, just as she has for the past three years with the company. Before that, Fote danced with the Milwaukee Ballet for 14 years, where she got her fill of snow. “I’m loving this,” Fote says about the Texas heat. She says her first year here she wore a skirt and short-sleeved tee to Nutcracker practice and had to laugh. “We were going to do the snow scene, and I thought ‘Do they even understand what that is down here?’” she says and giggles.

Fote says because she’s danced the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy for so many years, she’s always looking for new ways to improve her style and form – especially because it’s a “tutu role.” “When you wear longer skirts, it often camouflages, and you’re not able to see as much,” she says. “[In a tutu], your legs are completely exposed and it’s that much more that has to be perfect.”

Assisting her and the other dancers in achieving this perfection is Georgina Parkinson from American Ballet Theater. “[She’s] showing us different ways of using our stage presence or our backs to speak,” Fote says, adding that getting in front of a crowd is another boost.

“Often I’m surprised because with an audience there you find yourself doing something maybe a little different that surprises you, and then you know you’re fresh.” See Fote and friends get fresh today when the Nutcracker opens at 7:30 p.m. The show runs through December 29. Wortham Center, 500 Texas. For a complete schedule and tickets, call 713-523-6300 or visit Tickets start at $17.
Nov. 23-24, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 24-25, 2 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m.; Dec. 14-16, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 18-23, 7:30 p.m.; Mon., Dec. 24, 2 p.m.; Dec. 26-27, 2 p.m.; Dec. 26-29, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 29, 2 p.m. Starts: Nov. 23. Continues through Dec. 23, 2007


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