Writer / Janelle Morrison The enchantment of the season is upon us, and with that, the return of a beloved holiday tradition, Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” will be presented in three marvelously different interpretations. Rich with festive culture, the City of Carmel is home to three prominent dance academies that will each present their unique interpretation of the beloved classical ballet. Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre The Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre will present a full length and contemporary version of The Nutcracker beginning Friday, December 4. The GHDT’s local dance students and the dancers of G2, the talented pre-professional company of Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre, will preform this beautiful blend of modern vision and traditional splendor. Played against a score of festive holiday melodies and lively multi-cultural, multi-ethnic music, this modern interpretation relates the classic story of Clara but offers a unique twist on the original. In this version, directed by Gregory Hancock, Clara is portrayed as an orphan girl who discovers the true meaning of the season through the giving spirit of a homeless man. Clara learns that family isn’t just the one you’re born with, and blessings are always waiting to be discovered. This student production features some of the finest young dancers from Central Indiana, and the production’s affiliation with a professional dance company brings the performance extraordinary quality and elegance. The role of Clara will be played by Ginger Miller (7th grade, Center Grove Middle School Central), and the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy will be played by Hannah Johnson. Both are students of the Academy of Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre. Eduardo Permuy, a professional dancer of Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre, will dance the role of the prince. A delightful Nutcracker Tea Party will precede the matinee performance on Saturday, December 5. You will not want to miss this heartwarming, alternative version of “The Nutcracker.” Additional information about Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre is available at gregoryhancockdancetheatre.org, on Facebook and by calling 317-844-2660. Central Indiana Dance Ensemble Central Indiana Dance Ensemble (CIDE) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization committed to bringing the art of dance to the community. CIDE was founded in 1999 by Artistic Director Suzann DeLay. CIDE, a pre-professional dance ensemble and resident company of The Center for the Performing Arts, is excited to present its upcoming performance of “The Nutcracker.” This is CIDE’s first full-length ballet of its 2015-2016 season and will be performed at the Zionsville Performing Arts Center. “We’re very excited to have the Indianapolis Children’s Choir join us for all four performances this year,” DeLay said. "It’s a wonderful addition to have live vocal arrangements during the Snow Scene. We will once again be offering our ever-popular Sugar Plum Fairy Dessert Party prior to each matinee performance. This unique touch allows for attendees to have story time with various Nutcracker characters and participate in multiple craft activities. Seeing as this is our 16th year performing ‘The Nutcracker,’ we have revamped the choreography in Act II while also adding new roles and striking new costumes. “We are extremely fortunate to have numerous guest artists featured in this year’s performances including Zhanna Sinitsyna, former soloist with Ballet Internationale, who will be creating the role of Clara’s mother as well as Marte Osiris Madera from Dance Kaleidoscope who will be performing the Arabian pas de deux. Other guest artists include Steven Wright and Jakob Pringle.” Another unique touch CIDE offers with each performance is the Sugar Plum Fairy Dessert Party prior to each matinee performance at 12:30 p.m. where attendees can have story time with Nutcracker characters, partake in craft activities and have a snack. Indiana Ballet Conservatory Come experience the magic of Indiana’s premier “The Nutcracker” tradition and enjoy the stellar dancing of Lasha Khozashvili, acclaimed principal dancer with Boston Ballet. Children and adults of all ages will be transformed by this heartwarming tale of a young girl and her beloved Nutcracker as she battles off evil and learns the value and resiliency of the human spirit. This version is closest to that of the original Nutcracker Ballet that debuted over 100 years ago in Russia, staged by IBC Founding Artistic Director Alyona Yakovleva-Randall based on the 1934 choreography of Vasily Vainonen. You won’t want to miss this timeless and beloved holiday favorite! Khozashvili’s dancing has been described by The Los Angeles Times as “gorgeous” with “youth, charm and spontaneity gilding the choreography and making it seem inspired improvisation.” Lasha will be dancing the role of the Prince alongside three IBC Professional Training Program students in the dual role of Princess Masha and the Sugar Plum Fairy: Olivia Behrmann, Julia Rust and Rachel Schultz. Olivia, a graduating senior at IBC, is a two-time recipient of the award for 1st Place from the largest international student ballet competition in the world, Youth America Grand Prix. She has performed at the prestigious YAGP New York International Finals for the last two years and received scholarships from leading dance schools worldwide. Julia, a 14-year-old student at IBC, is also a 1st place recipient from YAGP and has performed at the prestigious YAGP Finals three years in a row. Most recently, Julia received the Silver Medal in the first Indianapolis International Ballet Competition this past May. Rachel, another graduating senior at IBC, has also placed in the Top 12 dancers at the YAGP Chicago regionals and has received scholarships to attend several top summer intensive programs across the country. Rachel has performed solo roles in multiple productions in both Chicago and Indiana ballet schools throughout her training. For information about the performances see listing in our Arts Calendar.