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Beth Fowler’s ‘Nutcracker’ ballet to return to live stage

St. Charles dancers to spin into view

The Beth Fowler Dance Company and Beth Fowler School of Dance in St. Charles and Genoa will renew a local holiday tradition this weekend, as they celebrate their return to the live stage in “The Nutcracker.”

For more than a quarter century, the Beth Fowler dancers and artists, from beginners to professionals, have taken the stage for nights of beauty and wonder in the annual production that opens the dance company’s performance season.

The Beth Fowler Dance Company will perform four shows at the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St. in DeKalb, from Friday through Sunday, Dec. 3 to 5. The curtain will rise at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 1 and 6 p.m. Sunday.

In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down live theater throughout the nation, Beth Fowler, artistic director and owner of the Beth Fowler School of Dance, opted to reimagine the long-running stage production as a feature film, to enable all BFSD dancers to once more experience the magic of performing, but in a controlled, safe environment.

After producing and screening “The Nutcracker Movie” in January 2021, the live performance now returns to the Egyptian Theatre stage.

Brooke Bend of St. Charles will dance the role of the Snow Queen.

“Snow Queen has been my dream role since I began doing ‘Nutcracker,’” Bend said in a news release. “I love the music and how beautiful the dance is, and especially how pretty it is when the snow falls from the ceiling.”

Bend will partner with the Snow King, portrayed by Jack Goings of Augusta, Wisconsin.

Goings, now entering his final semester at Northern Illinois University, has acted and danced professionally in productions in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois and Wisconsin. Fowler hired Goings in 2020 to dance the role of Snow King in the filmed “Nutcracker Movie.”

“I enjoyed working with the studio and all of the talented performers, choreographers and Beth Fowler herself so much that when she asked if I would be a part of the ‘Nutcracker’ this year, of course, I said yes,” Goings said.

The cast will be led by Clara Owen of St. Charles, who will dance her namesake role of Clara. Owen said she is excited to share her take on the iconic character.

“Filming is nice, but I prefer performing on stage,” Owen said in the release. “Being able to perform in front of an audience and greet them after is much more fun.”

Beth Fowler Dance Company alumnus Jacob Bliujus, formerly of Sycamore, has returned to dance the role of the Nutcracker Prince.

BFDC dancer Emily Fox of St. Charles will dance the memorable role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Ben Christian of Sycamore will dance the role of Fritz.

BFDC alumnus and current BFSD instructor Jen Flatland of Hampshire will dance the role of Arabian Queen, accompanied by Brandon Fowler, as the Arabian King.

Abby Lewis of St. Charles will portray the Rose Queen, leading the show-stopping “Waltz of the Flowers.” Addie Funke of St. Charles will play the Rat King, who duels with the Nutcracker Prince. Herr Drosselmeyer, Clara’s toymaker godfather, will be portrayed by Vincent J. Augustine of Aurora.

Other members of the cast include company soloists in various roles, and students from the Beth Fowler School of Dance in children’s roles.

Choreography is by Beth Fowler, assisted by Brooke Fowler. Original choreography in the grand pas de deux is by Lev Ivanos.

Reserved tickets can be purchased in advance. Ticket prices range from $24 to $29 for adults, and $15 to $20 for children age 12 and younger.

All children’s tickets include a “Meet & Greet” backstage after the show, for a keepsake photo with the cast. Guests can come to the front of the stage after the performance to be escorted on stage behind the main curtain.

To purchase tickets, visit www.BethFowlerDanceCompany.com. Tickets are also available at the door beginning one hour before each performance.