Karis Lim, of North Oaks, will dance the lead role of Clara in Ballet Minnesota’s 32nd annual holiday favorite “The Classic Nutcracker,” Dec. 13 to 15 at the O’Shaughnessy on the campus of St. Catherine University.
Lim, 13, attends Chippewa Middle School as an eighth grader. This is Lim’s first year as Clara. “I am extremely excited to work with Aaron Davies and watch our long hours of practice come to life in this year’s performance,” she said.
Lim devotes long hours of practice in order to bring sustained energy to the Christmas Eve party scene in Act I when Clara never leaves the stage, combining challenging ballet movements and the high level of drama. Although Lim spends a tremendous amount of time practicing for “The Nutcracker,” she thoroughly enjoys when her mother is able to bring her dinner while at rehearsals because they are able to spend time together.
Lim is one among a cast of more than 130 dancers in the production, including three nationally known dancers in feature roles, Ballet Minnesota company veterans and apprentices, and students from Classical Ballet Academy.
Highly pedigreed dancers will perform the lead signature roles. Violeta Angelova will reprise the role of Sugar Plum Fairy. Angelova’s career includes title and leading roles in more than 70 ballets. Ballet Master Matthew Prescott will return to dance the role of Cavalier, a role for which he has garnered enthusiastic reviews from Ballet Minnesota audiences. Prescott is the artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet School’s Musical Theater Broadway summer intensive.
“We are very fortunate to have top professional dancers as guest artists with Ballet Minnesota in the lead roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier,” said Andrew Rist, co-founder of Ballet Minnesota.
This year also marks Robert Cleary’s landmark 21st appearance in the production as the mysterious Godfather Drosselmeyer. “Robert has an amazing stage presence and a deep understanding of humanity that shines through in his performances. I will do whatever I can to keep him as Drosselmeyer for as long as he is willing,” Rist said.
The student roles range from the starring role of Clara to the youngest dancers as scampering mice and winged angels who seem to float on and off the stage. The enchanted sets further the magic with an adrenaline-filled battle, a fire-breathing dragon, lollipop swings, a 12-foot-tall Madame Ginger, and gentle snow falling on the corps de ballet at the close of Act I.
For novices to the holiday ballet, the story begins on Christmas Eve. A young girl, Clara, her mischievous brother, Fritz, and their family are hosting a Christmas party. A latecomer to the party is Clara’s mysterious Godfather Drosselmeyer. He presents her with a marvelous gift, a Nutcracker doll. As Clara goes to sleep that night, we are transported into her dream of the Rat King fighting the Nutcracker and his army of toy soldiers. The Nutcracker Prince escorts Clara through an enchanted snow-covered forest and on to his Kingdom of the Sweets, where Clara accepts the throne from the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14; and 2 p.m. Dec. 15. Ticket prices range from $21 to $46 with discounts for students, seniors and groups. To purchase tickets, visit oshag.stkate.edu/event/ballet-mn-the-classic-nutcracker-2019/ or call The O’Shaughnessy box office at 651-690-6700. The theater is located at 2004 Randolph Ave., Saint Paul.