Rayleigh Vendt of the Oklahoma City Ballet will return to Tyler as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Tyler Junior College Academy of Dance’s “The Nutcracker.”
Vendt received her early training in dance while growing up in Tyler and performing with Ballet Tyler.
Besides Vendt in a guest role, “The Nutcracker” will have a cast of more than 150 East Texas residents, including many children.
This is the 31st year for the academy to present the holiday classic that tells the story of what happens when a little girl’s Christmas nutcracker comes to life.
“‘The Nutcracker’ is such a beautifully magical ballet. I love changing the choreography each production, so every year there’s something new to see,” Carolyn Hanna, director of the TJC Academy of Dance, said in a statement released by TJC.
“This year we have more than 150 dancers and actors, and you can definitely feel the excitement on the stage,” she said. “These dancers have been rehearsing since September, so the end result will be something quite remarkable.
“With the TJC Academy of Dance, TJC Dance Department and other excellent dancers from around East Texas, we are delighted to present this production to the community every December,” she continued.
Shurrell Wiebe, Thereza Bryce-Cotes and Kristi Franks are the assistant choreographers.
Performances are set for 7 p.m. Dec. 6, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 7 and 2 and 6 p.m. Dec. 8 at Caldwell Auditorium 300 S. College Ave. in Tyler.
Admission is $15 to $25 for reserved seating. Main seating is $10 for seniors 65 and older, children 12 and younger and TJC students and employees. Tickets are available at TJC.edu/Nutcracker.
Performances traditionally sell out in advance.
New this year is Clara’s Christmas Morning, a brunch with some of the cast members, set for 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Potpourri House restaurant, 3320 Troup Highway in Tyler. Participants will have a chance to enjoy snacks, holiday stories and Christmas crafts.
Tickets are $25 or $40 for a VIP package, which includes a commemorative coloring book, reading book and autographed photo, organizers said.
Reservations can be made by contacting Hanna at 903-510-2483 or sending her an email at email@example.com .
Hanna is excited that Vendt is returning to Tyler to dance in “The Nutcracker.”
“She is an incredible dancer and the fact that she trained here with our same TJC professors years ago is a testament to their incredible instruction,” she said. “It shows the dancers in our academy and dance department that, with hard work and determination, obtaining your goal is absolutely possible.”
As a child, Vendt was once an angel in TJC’s “The Nutcracker.” While growing up, she was a member of Ballet Tyler and danced in the company’s productions of “Cinderella,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cats” and “Peter Pan.”
In Tyler, she trained in ballet and pointe with Kym Lanier and Thereza Bryce-Cotes and classical modern dance with Shurrell Wiebe.
Vendt then went to Ballet Academy of Texas in Coppell and had stints with Cincinnati Ballet and Ballet Austin II before joining Oklahoma City Ballet. She has since danced in feature roles in “Rodeo” and “Serenade,” “Swan Lake” and “Petal.”
In “The Nutcracker,” Vendt will present the pas de deux with fellow Oklahoma City Ballet dancer Walker Martin as the Cavalier.
Walker has studied in New York City at the Joffrey Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensives. With Oklahoma City Ballet, Martin has performed in “Alice (in Wonderland),” “The Four Temperaments,” “Rodeo,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Swan Lake,” “The Nutcracker,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Peter Pan.”
Cast members from East Texas
Brynn Allen, Lankston Arthur, Ellis Ann Ashwood, Michelle Azzi, Claira Barfield, Emily Bennett, Mary Bennett, Emma Bertrand, Christie Blaser, Adley Bolton, Rachel Boone, Faith Boose, Madison Bowser, Camila Bravo, Layla Brown, Jenna Broyles, Avery Bryand, Bella Burton, Paxon Bush, Laney Cannefax, Molly Cannon, Jessica Carmona, Bailey Carpenter, Hector Ceccoli, Autumn Chamberlin, Ginger Christiansen, James Coats, Kali Cole, Mackenzie Copfer, Faith Craig, Winter Cummins, Karsyn Cunningham, Augustine D’Eramo, Rebecca Dai, Qwynnen Davis, Sanea Dews, Michelle Dong, Caleigh Duquette, Baylee Elam, Mae Mae Ewing, Christopher Fisher, Ona Foreman, Claire Foreman, Haley Foster, Alison Franklin, Julie Franklin, Stella Franks, Kara Gandy, Kylie Gandy, Isabella Garcia, Lisa Genovese, Savannah Gregory, Jules Gregory, Holly Griffin, Regan Hamby, Maggie Hayes, Aubrey Henninger and Sophia Hines.
Also: Skyla Horace, Hannah Hughes, Kyndra Hulen, Allison Jarvis, Sophie Jernigan, Kileigh Johnson, Keegan Johnson, Yuki Jones, Lucy Kelling, Liberty Koerbel, Annabel Langford, Jennifer Lansou, Verani Ledesma, Keren Lee, Kaylee Lesniewski, Jules LeVrier, Zoe Lissner, Betsy Lopez, Melany Lopez, Jazleny Lopez, Lucy Anne Mackintosh, Audrey Martin, Nalani Mata, Aymette Mata, Adian Mata, Zoe Grace Mazzare, Brooks Mazzare, Cecilia McCain, Eliza McCain, Addison McHam, Claire McKeown, Lesli Mendoza, Kendall Merrick, Lydia Middleton, Paris Mims, Emma Mitchell, Heidi Moreman, Sara Moseley, Frances Moseley, David Moseley, Patrick Moseley, Sydney Moseley, Reese Mottatt, Catalina Cabanzo Murcia and Evan Nachman.
Also: Delia Nava, Maddison Nehls, Alexander Newton, Leely Nguyen, Dacey Ogrodnik, Cara Olney, Carlos Ortiz, Marianna Ortiz, Anastasia Oxler, Addison Petty, Brooklyn Petty, Allie Phillips, Sarah Beth Pierce, Stella Ramirez, Ainsley Rhodus, Kalli Richardson, Alison Roden, Alayna Roseberry, Landry Rowan, Piper Rowan, Lyla Roycroft, Audrey Scarborough, Grace Schoenberger, Lily Schoenberger, Chaysee Sepko, Sydney Sharp, Emily Slaton, Sarah Slaton, Dylon Stewart, Jon Stone, Isaac Stone, Charlotte Stuebing, Layla Sullivan, Joslyn Swinney-Dewberry, Kylie Switzer, Yadhira Tavera, Jill Taylor, Carmen Taylor, Brooklyn Thomas, Madison Thompson, Remi Tidwell, Addison Townsend, Elisabeth Vahovius, Gabriella Volberding, Wynne Washmon, Suni Weatherby, Ellen Weatherby, Alyssa White, Molly Whitener, Elexis Wiebe, Brynn Wilder, Cassidy Winborn, Aniston Wirzberg and Ava Womboldt.