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November 21, 2012

Nutcrackers galore

From local productions to local viewings, there are several ways and places to see 'The Nutcracker' this season.

Just as surely as Brenda Lee will rock around the Christmas tree and Santa Clause will come to town, local ballet companies are again staging sumptuous productions of “The Nutcracker” this Christmas season.

From Boston to North Andover and spots in between and beyond, fans of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet can once again get whisked away to the world of fairies, princes, toy soldiers, and childhood dreams.

“It’s the most beautiful music you can image,” says Mary Demaso, artistic director of Dance Prism, a Boston-area based dance company whose touring production of “The Nutcracker” hits the Collins Center for the Performing Arts at Andover High School on December 15 and 16.

“The Nutcracker” tells the story of a young girl named Clara who receives a toy nutcracker from her godfather on Christmas Eve. Later that night, when everyone else has gone to bed, Clara wakes up to find that the nutcracker has grown life-sized; soon he fights the Mouse King and his army. The nutcracker then transforms into a prince, who takes Clara to the Land of Sweets.

Demaso says Kaitlyn Odlum of North Andover, who plays Clara, is a dancer to watch.

“She’s a very bright and witty energetic Clara,” says Demaso. “Some are more wistful, more ethereal. She’s a very strong dancer and you can see that in what she does. She has a really good sense of character.”

Demaso also adds that Odlum’s Clara, along with the young dancer who plays her brother, Fritz “have a very lively and antagonistic relationship and they’re fun to watch because they’re both very good actors.”

Like so many productions of “The Nutcracker,” Demaso says a hallmark of Dance Prism’s version are the beautiful costumes and sets, which create a sophisticated, dreamlike atmosphere of a Christmas fairy land. And unlike other some other productions, Demaso says there’s nothing cartoonish about the sets.

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