All hail 'The Nutcracker' in Carroll County productions

The Sugarplum Fairy remains the most challenging role in "The Nutcracker" ballet.

A ballerina must be secure in her classical technique and mature in her dramatic skills to excel in this role. She also must be a smart leader on stage as she endeavors to keep all those tiny sugar plum darlings from tripping over one another in the Land of the Sweets.

For dancers, being chosen for Clara also elicits "oohs" and "ahs" of envy, for it is she who gets the spotlight as she wins the heart of her Nutcracker Prince.

Guest artists add extra sweetness to local "Nuts," and this season the area will be treated to stars of American Ballet Theater performing with a Carroll County troupe.

The Carroll County Dance Center will include ABT dancers in the roles of the Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier in the dance center's performances at the Gordon Center for the Performing Arts, 3506 Gwynnbrook Avenue, Owings Mills, Saturday, Dec. 10, at 4 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20, and are available at, or by calling 410-795-3255.

The center has performed this holiday classic since 2003. Founded in 1990, the Carroll County Dance Center is located Sykesville, on a parcel in the Warfield Cultural and Commerce Center off Route 32.

In addition, the local L'Etoile Ballet/The Russian Ballet Academy of Maryland will host a production of its authentic Russian "Nutcracker," in the Century High School auditorium, 355 Ronsdale Road, Sykesville, Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 and 6 p.m.

Guest artists include Violeta Angelova, a world-class ballerina; and Michael Cook — both recently seen with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center. There will also be a special appearance by Vadim Pijicov.

Three dozen elementary, middle and high school dancers are also part of this production, which is directed by Svetlana Kravtsova.

Tickets for that show are $25 for adults; $15 for children and free for those younger than 5. Call 443-393-1197 or go to

And there's one more "Nutcracker" that will have a Carroll County connection this year:

Cindee Velle's Columbia Chamber Ballet will bring its abbreviated version of the show to the area for a performance for the Fairhaven Retirement Community, 7200 Third Ave., Sykesville, on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m.

This show has a free admission, and no advance reservations are required. For more information, call 410-465-7674 or go to

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