Killeen pre-professional ballet company performs holiday classic, ‘The Nutcracker,’ with original choreography and custom costumes

Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 3:54 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Texas Metropolitan Ballet is performing its own version of the holiday classic, “The Nutcracker,” this weekend after four months of rehearsals and preparations.

The pre-professional ballet company began enchanting Central Texas with its Nutcracker performance 7 years ago when they noticed the Central Texas area did not have a local ballet company put on the world-renowned ballet.

The director, Randall Marks said they wanted to give Central Texas dancers the opportunities to perform in the cherished roles of the Nutcracker. He said that he’s seen some of the dancers start from smaller roles like cherubs and grow to become the Sugar Plum Fairy.

One of sugar plum fairies this year, Sophia Rastelli, started as the youngest leading role, Clara, during the company’s first Nutcracker performance.

Rastelli, a junior at Belton High School, said she is very lucky to be able to have these opportunities to perform for a pre-professional dance program that is not far from home, unlike dance programs in Austin or Dallas would be.

Marks said him and his wife choreograph the entire ballet, tweaking it every year to match the dancers selected for the roles. However, the audience can still expect to see the traditional favorites of the Nutcracker performance.

The costumes are also custom, including details that match the theme of each dance, otherwise known as a variation, in the performance.

The Sugar Plum Fairy’s costume is new this year as it’s custom design and details come all the way from Florida.

That will not be the only adjustment to the performance. Marks said they try to change or add different elements of the performance every year, including new backgrounds, costumes, choreography and more.

Marks said the performance is either nearly sold out or completely sold out every year.

“I think I’d like it to bring a sense of community, and I’d like people that live outside of the big cities, have a chance to see live theatre and see a ballet,” Marks said.

This year, seats are also filling up fast for the five performances starting Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from about $14 for children and $21 for adults online. You can also buy tickets at the box office at Central Texas Theatre.