PA Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’

Features, 11-12, Nutcracker

By Pat Ciarrocchi
CBS Philly
December 14, 2011

It’s the holiday season, and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker is at the Academy of Music now through New Year’s Eve.

With its score by Tchaikovsky and the performance by the elite dancers of the Pennsylvania Ballet, The Nutcracker is captivating.

And for Lauren Fadeley and Francis Veyette, the experience has spun a web of love.

“It’s very, very rare that you get to do what you love with the person you love,” says Veyette.

On October 29th, Veyette married Fadeley during the two week period when the company wasn’t performing.

“They emailed us the schedule,” says Fadeley, “and it said, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Veyette for Sugar Plum and Cavalier.’”

Principal roles that tell a romantic story are the stuff of great ballet. But to dance the roles together–for the first time–is rare.

“She’s an amazing ballerina,” Veyette gushes about his new wife.

“This is the best wedding present we ever could have gotten.”

The Nutcracker turns on the story of a child’s fantasy. The roles of Marie and the young Prince were cast with Nutcracker veterans from the first act’s party scene.

Twelve-year-old Mary Lee Deddens is dancing as Marie for the first time, and she’s thrilled.

“We’re told to practice at home. My sister is in the party scene also, so she sings the music and we both practice.”

Ballet Master Jeffrey Gribler has worked with The Nutcracker‘s children for twenty years.

“They’re mature and wise beyond their years, so they bring a lot to the ballet,” he says.

That includes 12-year-old Christian Lavallie, who is the Young Prince for the first time.

“I was a Party Boy, and it’s just like a huge upgrade from that. So, it’s a lot of fun.“


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