Cache Valley Civic Ballet prepares a local holiday tradition

On Friday, The Cache Valley Civic Ballet Company will open its 33rd annual performance of “The Nutcracker” at The Ellen Eccles Theatre.

The production will have 110 cast members, including two guest ballet dancers from Ballet West in Salt Lake City. Sandra Emile, the artistic director and founder of Cache Valley Civic Ballet, said the addition of guest dancers Colin Jacob and Emily Neale will help “heighten the experience” for the attendees.

“It’s a big production for us,” said Debi King, the costume manager and rehearsal assistant of the local ballet company. “It’s our biggest of the year.”

Patrons can also expect to see new costumes in this year’s production. King said each year she chooses a particular costume to revamp and make new again.

This year, King chose to remake the costumes of the party-going mothers in the opening scene.

“The gowns that we have been using are not the right time period,” King said. “1890’s is when it’s supposed to be.”

Emile said the production is a local staple that helps bring in the holiday season for the community. She said nearly 5,000 people are expected to attend over the course of the five performances.

“It’s a big tradition for a lot of Cache Valley folks,” King said. “They bring their little ones, and then the little ones grow up and bring their little ones.”

After 32 years, Emile said she still revels in the performances. Even though the task may be daunting at times, with the teaching of choreography and 25 hour rehearsal weeks, she still thoroughly enjoys the production.

Her favorite moment is when curtain rises — opening the show.  

“My heart goes in my throat everytime,” Emile said. “It’s just magic.”