For many area families, attending the "Nutcracker" ballet is an annual holiday tradition. "Nutcracker 2019" is a regional, two-hour production of the famous holiday ballet performed in Dalton. The ballet is based on a book titled "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" written by E.T.A. Hoffman.
Directed by Berrien Long and produced by the nonprofit Dalton Arts Project," "Nutcracker 2019" features more than 350 local performers, and benefits from the work of hundreds of community volunteers.
In its 27th year, the production traditionally includes guest artists in the classic roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Cavalier and the Snow King and Spanish Pas de Deux. Recently, Long announced this year's guest artists.
Destiny Wimpye will be traveling from California to perform the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. She is a professional dancer, actress and model originally from Atlanta.
Since relocating to Los Angeles in 2013, Wimpye has performed with Mariah Carey, Jill Scott and Debbie Allen and at the White House for the Obama administration. She can be found in commercials for ABC Mouse, Macy's and Toyota.
Her acting skills have landed her on TV shows such as "Raven's Home," "Speechless," "The Odd Couple" and, most recently, a role in the hit television show "This is Us."
Although Wimpye has decided to focus on her ballet career, she can still be seen modeling for companies like Discount Dance, All About Dance and Mariia Dancewear. She has been named in the top 10 "Up and Coming Ballerinas to Watch" by Dance Spirit Magazine. She trains at the Colburn School Dance Academy and said she is excited to be dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in Dalton with her friend Mark Burns.
The role of the Cavalier will be performed by Burns, a former soloist with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. He has danced leading roles throughout America by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Alonzo King, Alvin Ailey, John Alleyne, Dwight Rhoden and William Forsythe.
Burns has been a guest artist with the Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Brooklyn Ballet. He began his training at the Joffrey School of Ballet in New York, and continued study at the School of American Ballet. He holds a bachelor of fine arts from New York University. He is a principal dancer and teacher with the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance and the Roswell Dance Theatre.
Kristopher Wojtera will be dancing the roles of the Snow King and the Spanish Pas de Deux. He was born in Poland and began his ballet studies at the National Ballet School in Gdansk. He danced with the Polish National Theatre in Warsaw, where he performed a variety of roles in classical and contemporary works throughout Poland and Europe.
Upon moving to the United States, he performed as a soloist with the Columbia City Ballet and as a principal dancer with the Louisville Ballet.
Wojtera portrayed the lead roles in works such as "Giselle," "Swan Lake," "The Three Musketeers," "Don Quixote" and "Theme and Variations," among others. He has performed as a guest artist with the English National Ballet, the Ballet Theatre Midwest, the North Atlanta Dance Theatre, the San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet, the Carolina Ballet and others.
While still performing, he completed a master of fine arts degree in dance from Hollins University in association with the Forsythe Lab and the Mousonturm in Frankfurt, Germany. The Dalton Arts Project is pleased to have Wojtera share his talents with our community this year.
The professional dancers will dance in all eight performances of "Nutcracker 2019" in the Dalton High School theater, 1500 Manly St. The times are Friday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 14, at 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 21, at 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $13 to $18 and go on sale to the public on Monday at 411 North Park Drive in Dalton. Bring one can of food for the local food bank and get $1 off your ticket price.
Title sponsors for "Nutcracker 2019" are Brown Printing, Shaw Industries, Textile Rubber and Chemical Co., Direct Packaging, Coldwell Banker, Box 1 and Engineered Floors.
Call the Dalton Arts Project at (706) 529-ARTS (2787) for more information.