December 6, 2012

'Victorian Nutcracker' at Merrill

Portland Ballet brings its uniquely local holiday production to the stage this weekend.

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

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click image to enlarge

Portland Ballet brings back its popular “Victorian Nutcracker” in performances on Saturday and Sunday at Merrill Auditorium. The production is set in Portland during the Victorian era.

Courtesy Portland Ballet Company

click image to enlarge

This year’s “Victorian Nutcracker” features some new choreography.

Courtesy Portland Ballet Company


WHEN: 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $24 to $54

INFO: 842-0800;;

As with many other experienced dancers, Shipman has danced in "The Nutcracker" many times in many locations. Her last "Nutcracker" performance was in 2008, also with Portland Ballet.

She loves the piece.

"It's so funny. When you talk to dancers about 'The Nutcracker,' you get everything from a big sigh and roll of the eyes to, 'Oh my gosh, I love it.' I am one of those. I still get chills," Shipman said.

"It's just such an American tradition. I'm just pleased to be a part of it year after year. I have done it all over the country with many different companies. Children show up in their beautiful dresses with their grandparents. They are excited to get in their seats. It's very important to them."

Curiously, O'Brien never danced in "The Nutcracker." She ushered for it at Boston Ballet when she was younger, and she has been involved with it all her professional life. But she never danced it.

"I have staged it and done a lot with it, and have lived with it for so long through so many different eras. But I don't think I have ever danced in it," she said. "It's always been an important part of my bloodstream. This is the way I continue with that legacy."

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

Twitter: pphbkeyes


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