A holiday tradition featuring more than 100 local dancers, joined by professional dancers with the San Diego Ballet Company, and the Billings Symphony Orchestra lit up the stage with the heartwarming story of The Nutcracker at the Alberta Bair Theater.
Set to the soaring score by Tchaikovsky, the ballet featured fanciful characters from the Nutcracker Prince to the Mouse King and the Sugar Plum Fairy. The costumes and stage tell the story of Clara, a young girl dreaming of the Land of Sweets and her Nutcracker Prince. Sarah Ionnides, music director of the Symphony Tacoma, was the guest conductor.
Betty Loos, director of the School of Classical Ballet in Billings, has been working with local girls for five decades, preparing them for roles in the production. This year, three Billings girls took on the role of the central character of the ballet, young Clara, including Emma Caseres, Audrey Mills, and Alia Russell. In addition, two high school dancers - Emilee Brown and Marlee O'Toole - performed in the Mirliton Scene, the Flower Scene, and the finale.
O'Toole and Brown are both seniors at Billings Senior High School. They have been performing in The Nutcracker since they were five years old.