Joffrey Ballet presents ewly reimagined holiday classic The Nutcracker

Elizabeth Gamble and Ariana Czernobil at Alabama Ballet’s studio

It is one of the oldest "Nutcracker Ballets" produced in the United States, a testament to this south Monterey County community.

Alaine Haubert, principal of the Gillespie School, said there wouldn't be a "Nutcracker" performance without the students who auditioned for the production.

Erin Gonzales of Thousand Oaks will perform the role Sat., Dec. 16. Donations saved the live music for that year's ballet, and last year the company used a partial orchestra.

Founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956, guided by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007, The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under internationally renowned Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Executive Director Greg Cameron. They train 18 to 20 hours per week, not including rehearsals.

Classically trained to the highest standards, The Joffrey Ballet expresses a unique, inclusive perspective on dance, proudly reflecting the diversity of America with its company, audiences, and repertoire which includes major story ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces and contemporary works. Erin also has attended summer programs with The Rock School, Boston Ballet and Ballet West.

She never did enact the classic Christmas tale, but lives out her dream vicariously through her dance students. In her free time, Erin enjoys photography and assists with the 5-year-old ballet class at the studio. They all attend the Andover School of Ballet.

Ariana Czernobil
Ariana Czernobil

Erin's previous "Nutcracker" roles have been Star, Lady Licorice, Peppermint Princess, Gumdrop and Snow.

Grace has been dancing since the age of 3.

"The students of the ABT Gillespie School are receiving pre-professional training, which means they are not only fine-tuning technical skill but also are aware that they are learning an art form where their creativity is encouraged", Haubert said.

The first of many treats greets us as the curtain rises on Julia Trevelyan Oman's gorgeous period designs, a homage to the fashions of 19th-century Germany. Grace joined Pacific Festival Ballet in 2015 and has performed in "Peter Pan" and "Noah's Ark".

Grace also danced in PFB's "The Nutcracker", "Peter Pan" and "Noah's Ark".

Tais said she always dreamed of moving to Los Angeles and pursuing a career with the American Ballet Theatre.

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