The holidays are synonomous with The Nutcracker Ballet. One of the most beautiful and beloved ballets in the world, many families make it an annual tradition to see the show each and every holiday season.
This Friday, Dec. 7, Peninsula families can enjoy that tradition with a performance of the Nutcracker at the Fox Theatre in downtown Redwood City.
Says Jackie Kubicka, publicity chair, this is truly "Redwood City's Nutcracker" because it is produced by Ballet America, which has been headquartered here on Linden Street for 13 years and counting.
It is also the epitome of Redwood City's Nutcracker because many of its stars are local residents - such as the Barnes family.
Terry and Shoko Barnes moved to Redwood City in 1987, roughly 25 years ago. Shoko is an alumnus of Sequoia High.
Their daughters, Sarah and Michelle, are both longtime local dancers.
"Their eldest, Sarah, danced at Academy of American Ballet for 10 years, performing in 10 Nutcrackers, all culminating in her performance as the Snow Queen last year, which is one of the main roles in Nutcracker," said Kubicka. "She is a now a freshman at Scripps, and was her class' valedictorian at Sequoia, where she earned her IB Diploma."
Now, their youngest, Michelle, is following in her big sister's footsteps.
Though Michelle has always focused more on modern, contemporary dance, her mother Shoko said she is excited about her role as a Dancing Doll in this year's Nutcracker.
"She's really looking forward to trying something different," Shoko said.
Sarah danced with Ballet America for 10 years, and Shoko said they were a major part of her life.
"She really got a lot out of her years in Nutcracker."
Kubicka said the two sisters are both very talented.
"These two sisters were the only girls to be selected to dance solos in last year's dance show at Sequoia," said Kubicka.
The two girls also have a renowned grandmother in the ballet world, Kubicka added.
"These girls are the granddaughters of Bernice Barnes, who danced with Ballet Russe de Monto Carlo from 1946 to 1950. Bernice worked with many of the famous names in ballet, including Balanchine, Danilova, and Tallchief," Kubicka explained. "Last year, because the grandmother is now elderly, a big group of girls from the ballet company drove up to Auburn to perform their Nutcracker dances for her."
Ballet America presents its full-length production of The Nutcracker, featuring local dancers alongside professional dancers, this Friday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway.
This performance was made possibly by the Redwood City Civic Cultural Commission.
Tickets cost between $18-39 and can be purchased from Ballet America's website; by phone through the Fox Theatre at 650-FOX-7770, or at the Fox's box office.