The Kennedy Dance Theatre will present the holiday classic “The Nutcracker” Saturday and Sunday at the Bayou Theater on the campus of the University of Houston-Clear Lake, 2700 Bay Area Blvd., in Houston.

The performances, which are under the direction of studio director, Mary Lee Kennedy, and choreographed by internationally acclaimed choreographer, Milena Leben, can be seen at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The annual presentation also will feature Clara’s Closet, which will have a wide array of vendors selling holiday-themed gifts and more.

“The best part about doing ‘The Nutcracker’ each year is that it is an opportunity for all ages and levels of dancers to work and create something on stage together that they can be proud of,” Kennedy said. “They all love performing for the community and providing a Christmas tradition for families to attend each year.”

The dancers have been preparing for three and a half months with rehearsals going on five days a week, Kennedy said.

“There are close to 85 participants in this year’s production,” Kennedy said. “This performance is a great holiday experience for the whole family!”

The show is put on by Kennedy Dance Theatre’s graded ballet division classes and pre-professional ballet company.

Elaina Chong will be featured as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Chong, 13, and a resident of Friendswood, is an eighth-grader at League City Intermediate School and wants to be a principal dancer of a major ballet company when she grows up, she said.

“Working together as a team is the most rewarding part of being in ‘The Nutcracker,’” Chong said. “To put on a big performance, we all have to work together to create a show. Through all of our hard work, we create something beautiful and it’s rewarding to know that we could touch someone’s life with our dancing.”

The story, which follows the main character Clara (played by Isabella Kessler and Katherine Martinez) and her family at their Christmas Eve party, takes us on a mysterious journey when Clara falls asleep holding her new Nutcracker Doll given to her by her mysterious godfather, Drosselmeyer.

As Clara dreams, her Nutcracker comes to life and saves her from an army of mice. The Nutcracker Prince, played by 17-year-old Jeremy Carmona, then takes Clara on an unforgettable journey through dancing snowflakes and on the Land of Sweets where she meets the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy.

“Seeing the excitement in the eyes of young children after they watch us perform is always the best part for me,” Carmona said. “I personally hope that I am inspiring a young boy watching that it is OK to love dance!”

Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 at the door with group rates available. To purchase tickets, call 281-480-8441, or visit www.KennedyDance.com.

Angela Wilson: 409-683-5239; angela.wilson@galvnews.com

Angela Wilson is the community news editor for The Daily News.

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