The holiday season is in high gear and one of my favorite holiday traditions is the Nutcracker ballet. Did you know that St. Tammany has it’s own resident ballet company that’s been performing the Nutcracker for nearly 3 decades?

Ballet Apetrei is celebrating its 30th year under the artistic direction of Kelly Fortier and is the only non-profit, pre-professional ballet company in western St. Tammany and the only full length Nutcracker performance on the Northshore. This year is the 29th year of delighting local audiences with the Tchaicovsky’s classic Christmas ballet while giving local dancers ages 5 and up the opportunity to perform alongside professional guest artists.

Many principal roles are played by the members of the Ballet Apetrei company, with younger roles played by children who audition for the roles and are dancers at several local dance schools, including the Apetrei Dancenter in Mandeville. This year, as part of an outreach program by Kelly Fortier, the production will also feature dancers from the Boys and Girls Club of Covington, where Kelly has been teaching classes. The Ballet Apetrei Nutcracker also will host Stephanie Hall of the Atlanta Ballet, who is returning as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Howard Merlin of the Boston Ballet will return in the role of Heir Drosselmeyer.

The role of the Snow Queen is shared by Ballet Apetrei company members Georgia Krieger and Ellen Breaux, both of Mandeville. Both said they have dreamed of the starring in the show’s pinnacle dance among mystical snowflakes since they were little girls. Sharing the role of Clara in the production are Anna Kate Krieger of Mandeville and Emily Farrow of Covington. Both girls said that they are thrilled to be taking the stage as the production’s lead character.

Performances are this weekend only at Mandeville High School, with performances on Friday Dec 1 at 7pm and on Saturday, December 2 at 2pm and 7pm. Tickets are on sale at the Pineapple Gallery in Mandeville from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All tickets will be sold by seat number and range in price from $10-$35. Based on availability, tickets will also be sold at the door.

You can keep up with Ballet Apetrei throughout the year on their Facebook page (and even get some behind the scenes looks at the dancers in rehearsal). See you at the theater!

This post is part of our larger holiday guide. If you’re looking for information on Christmas lights, Christmas activities, or where to take Santa Pictures then please visit our guide!

Photo credit Barry Muniz

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Hi, I'm Aimée, the Special Projects Coordinator for Northshore Parent. If there's a fun giveaway, a kids' clothing review, or a special event, there's a good chance that I'm responsible. I'm a lifelong resident of St. Tammany (except for time at LSU for undergrad and law school) and a mom to 3 little ones, ages 6, 6 (yes, they are twins, and no, they are not identical) and 2. Thanks for reading Northshore Parent and being a part of our community.