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The “Nutcracker Ballet,” New Orleans-style

NEW ORLEANS -  If Tchaikovsky had set his famous Christmas ballet in New Orleans, what would it look like?

Nikki Hefko, Director of the New Orleans School of Ballet, has created a magical scene, setting the story somewhere between Jackson Square and the bayou.

In her version,  the brave Nutcracker Prince doesn't battle the Mouse King -- he battles the "Queen of the Nutria."   And instead of a Sugar Plum Fairy, this version has the "Sugar Cane Fairy".

"There are so many ways to incorporate New Orleans into the story," says Hefko, "without losing the core of the classic."

And so, the athletic Russian dance scene of the original ballet is replaced by football-tossing dancers wearing black and gold, and the Chinese dancers of Tchaikovsky's version are replaced by graceful Pelicans.

Even the youngest dancers-- pre-schoolers-- have a role in this production, joining the Sugar Cane Fairy as little "beignets."

Performances of the "Nutcracker in New Orleans" will take place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at The Contemporary Arts Center, at 900 Camp Street.

For tickets and more information, click here.