On December 14th and 15th, in two full-length performances, they will perform with the Footworks Community Orchestra and singers from the Carpe Diem Chorus at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center. Family-friendly matinees on both days begin at 2 p.m.
While Tchaikovsky’s score remains the same, artistic director Kirsten Oakley’s twists to the story add freshness and whimsy each year. Enjoying the full-size scale of the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, Footworks Youth Ballet’s performances feature a live orchestra and chorus that add depth to the dance artistry, not to mention the professional costuming and sets.
The two primary roles of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince are filled by young Venturans Brie Cheatham and Jonah Thomas. Brie is a 6th grader at Cabrillo Middle School who’s been at the Oakley Ballet Center for five years. Excited and surprised to be chosen as Clara this year, she says, “It’s been really fun working with all of the dancers. I am looking forward to the party scene where I have my first solo. I am very thankful for Oakley Ballet teachers and the older dancers who have been helping me. This experience has helped me not be so shy.”
Jonah Thomas, a 13-year-old Ventura Charter School student, repeats his performance as Clara’s nephew who eventually transforms into the Nutcracker Prince. It’s a unique role that goes with the Footworks Youth Ballet ethos—if a dancer is able to take on a principal role, they are given the opportunity to dance it! Jonah has been studying at Oakley Ballet Center since 2016.
Founded by Kirsten Oakley, Footworks Youth Ballet was created with the goal of providing a place for young people to thrive and grow through the joy of dance as they learn the art and discipline of classical ballet. Technique classes are offered through the Oakley Ballet Center in Ventura, for children ages 5-18.
In keeping with the mission of Footworks, many student dancers perform in principal roles such as the Sugar Plum Fairy or Snow Queen, giving young artists the opportunity to take on classical ballet repertoire at its best. As Oakley explains, “Even if a student leaves ballet after high school, they take with them a great appreciation for the classics, having explored the art form to its utmost and seen the results of their dedication and effort.”
For each ballet production, Footworks Youth Ballet hosts a sold-out performance for over 3,000 school-aged children to see the ballet. Most of the tickets for the children are provided at the reduced fee of $5.00 each, and many of the students qualify for free tickets.
Join Footworks Youth Ballet for their Family Educational Hour one hour prior to each show to learn about the production, costumes, ballet history and music.
The Nutcracker, presented by Footworks Youth Ballet.
Sat. Dec. 14th, 2:00 pm
Sun. Dec. 15th, 2:00 pm
Oxnard Performing Arts Center
Tickets $19, $24, $29
Call 486.2424 to buy tickets, or order online at footworksyouthballet.org