When Candy Quillian, a former ballet dancer, moved to Sedona with her husband in the 1980s, she was dismayed at the lack of a ballet school. She opened her own school, Danse Sedona, in the Village of Oak Creek in 1989. Last year, Candy teamed with local resident Winnie Muench-First to found Sedona Chamber Ballet with the goal of bringing professional ballet to Red Rock Country. For the second year, the ballet will present The Nutcracker, which features a cast of 38 dancers of all ages. Performances take place at the Sedona Performing Arts Center on Dec. 7 at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $15.
“This is not a school dance recital,” says Candy. “This is a traditional telling of The Nutcracker. We have sets, costumes and a growing Christmas tree. We’re also proud to present a guest artist from Louisville Ballet, Rachel Cahayla-Wynne, who will play the Sugar Plum Fairy.”
The Nutcracker is the story of Clara (played by Allisone Doerner in Sedona), a young girl who falls in love with a nutcracker she receives for Christmas. The nutcracker is really a prince under the spell of the evil Rat King. The only way to break the spell is with love. Clara and the Nutcracker travel to the Land of Sweets, which is ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy. But is it real or just a dream? Last year, the ballet was held at Canyon Moon Theatre in the Village of Oak Creek, and it sold out all three of its performances, says Candy, who also serves as the production’s artistic director.
Sedona Chamber Ballet includes a core group of professional dancers, with other roles filled by auditions. Candy hopes future performances will include a live orchestra. The ballet will host another production in the spring.–Erika Ayn Finch