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'Nutcracker' makes annual appearance at Sheldon Theatre

The Continental Ballet will perform next weekend at the Sheldon Theatre with the help of local children.

Continental Ballet Company and Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra will combine efforts again this year to stage the classic "Nutcracker Ballet" at 7 p.m. Dec. 20 and 2 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Sheldon Theatre.

"This timeless tale of Clara's amazing journey to the Land of the Sugarplum Fairy with her magical godfather Drosselmeyer is a family-friendly staple that has been enjoyed by thousands of theater-goers every year," Sheldon spokesmen said.

The dance company, which is based in the Twin Cities, has performed the enchanting ballet for many years at the Sheldon with the help of a group of local children.

"Continental Ballet has always believed in sharing their appreciation for classical ballet with local children, who get the chance to perform a scene with the professional dancers," spokesmen explained.

Continental Ballet was formed in 1988 by Riet Velthuisen, a former dancer with the Dutch National Ballet. This is the company's 20th "Nutcracker" show.

"It is her wish and the company's mission that children and families have the opportunity to experience the art of classical ballet through performances, classes and community events that help foster the appreciation of dance and help the participants reach their full potential," according to the Sheldon.

Providing the music again this year will be the Cannon Valley Regional Orchestra. For almost 30 years musicians from all over the Cannon Valley and Metro areas -- including Red Wing -- have come together under the direction of Paul Niemisto to perform for audiences of all ages. All are amateurs who love playing orchestral music.

They present several concerts each year, featuring a varied repertoire including classical symphonic works and compositions by area composers. The orchestra performs at a variety of places from outdoor festivals to luxurious ballrooms.

Tickets are $26 for adults and $16 for students.

Call (651) 388-8700 or (800) 899-5759 or go on the Internet at