'A Southwest Nutcracker'
courtesy photo, Rachel Engman portrays “Chili Pepper” (Spanish) in Tucson Regional Ballet’s production of “A Southwest Nutcracker.”

Tucson Regional Ballet presents its annual holiday show, “A Southwest Nutcracker,” Dec. 4 and 5 at the Tucson Convention Center Music Hall.

The performance features live musical accompaniment by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and soloists from Ballet Arizona.

“A Southwest Nutcracker” is an original, full-length classical ballet translating the traditional “Nutcracker” to Tucson in the 1880s, complete with the battle of the coyotes and the U.S. Cavalry.

Young Maria (Clara) and the Nutcracker General travel over the glistening, falling snow of Mount Lemmon to a desert dream of chili peppers, Mama Pinata and the waltzing desert poppies.

“Live musical accompaniment, lovely costumes and breathtaking, professionally designed sets, along with the giant growing Christmas tree, enhance the strong dancing of TRB,” a release said.

Guest dancers Roman Zavarov and Paola Hartley perform “grand pas de deux” in “A Southwest Nutcracker.”

Zavarov, born in Kazakhstan, entered the Bolshoi Ballet Academy at age 10, and was performing with the Bolshoi Company by age 13. He has been trained and performed in the U.S. since 2004, joining Ballet Arizona in 2007.

Hartley, born in Bonn, grew up in South Africa and Chile, where her parents danced for P.A.C.T. Ballet and Ballet de Santiago. She joined Ballet Arizona in 1998. She has been seen by millions performing as a guest artist in the Chilean TV talent show “Rojo Fama Contrafama,” where her father is a judge. In her spare time, she teaches ballet at several dance academies in the Phoenix area.

Tucson Regional Ballet, with accompaniment by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and guest dancers from Ballet Arizona

Tucson Convention Center Music Hall

Saturday, Dec. 4, 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 5, 2 p.m.

Tickets, $23 to $38

TCC Box Office, 260 S. Church

TRB Box Office, www.tucsonregionalballet.org or 885-0862

www.ticketmaster.com, or 1-800-745-3000

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