Local plays role in ballet

From press reports


When Bailey Taylor was a first grader at Grace Christian School she danced in her first Ballet Mississippi Nutcracker. She was six years old and had been cast as an angel in Act II, The Lands of the Sweet. On a cold December night Bailey and fifteen young dancers dressed in flowing shimmering white gowns floated across the stage at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson. Golden halos adorned each head creating an ethereal vision. A hushed whisper fell across the audience as the Angel Fairy circled the group. This was a magical moment for a little girl.

Today, for this sixteen year old, the Nutcracker has come full circle. Ten years later Bailey, a high school junior, will be dancing the role of the Angel Fairy. Sixteen little angels wearing the same costumes that Bailey wore will be sharing good wishes with their Angel Fairy. In addition, Bailey will dance “Waltz of the Snowflakes” in Act I, Scene IV and “Waltz of the Flowers” in Act II, The Lands of the Sweets.

She will share the stage with Adiarys Almeida as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Joseph Gatti as the Cavalier. Almeida is a former Cincinnati Ballet and Corella Ballet Principal Dancer. She joined Boston Ballet as Soloist in 2010. She was born and raised in Cuba where she danced with the National Ballet of Cuba. She was the first Cuban female dancer to be a finalist at the USA International Ballet Competition in 2006. Gatti is a former Cincinnati Ballet and Corella Ballet Principal Dancer. He joined Boston Ballet as Soloist in 2010. Gatti was raised in Florida where he danced with Orlando Ballet. In 2003 at the Youth American Grand Prix Ballet Competition in New York he was awarded the Gold Medal and a Scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in London. In 2004 he joined the American Ballet Theater Studio Company. In 2007 he received the Gold Medal at the World Ballet Competition in Orlando.

Ballet Mississippi is under the direction of David Keary. Keary trained under Albia Kavan Cooper and was the first professional dancer under direction of Thalia Mara. He completed his training at the School of American Ballet. Keary was invited by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet where he performed the extensive repertoire of the NYCB and performances on the PBS series Dance in America.

Once again Ballet Mississippi is partnering with Friends of the Children’s Hospital to support the Light-A-Light project. This project, created over twenty years ago, helps patients and their families celebrate the holidays while in the hospital. The lobby of Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children is transformed into a Christmas wonderland. The highlight of this event is the lighting of the large tree in front of the hospital. At a special ceremony the tree comes to life with the glow of hundreds of lights which have been purchased in memory or honor of someone.

This year once again Ballet Mississippi will be performing selections from the Nutcracker at the Light-A-Light Ceremony on December 10. These dancers have the wonderful opportunity of sharing the magic of the Nutcracker with many of the critically ill children in our state. It is truly a heart moment to see joy reflected on a sick child’s face as he meets the Sugar Plum Fairy for the first time. Ballet Mississippi is honored to play a small part in supporting Mississippi’s only pediatric hospital. Everyone is invited to help support Batson by purchasing a light.

Ballet Mississippi first performed the Nutcracker in 1983. The 2013-2014 season’s Nutcracker will be performed this weekend at Thaila Mara Hall in Jackson. Performances will be held December 7, Saturday night at 7:30 and December 8, Sunday afternoon at 2:00. For more information visit balletms.com for more details.