#See: ‘Nutcracker Key West’ Transforms Classic Ballet into Subtropical Fantasy

#See: ‘Nutcracker Key West’ Transforms Classic Ballet into Subtropical Fantasy - A group of people riding on the back of a horse - Modern dance

Holiday-loving audiences can immerse themselves in the heritage and underwater beauty of the Florida Keys while viewing a classic seasonal ballet during “Nutcracker Key West,” set to begin a seven-show run Saturday, Dec. 13, in the island city.

The unique production blends the traditional storyline of “The Nutcracker” with quintessential Florida Keys elements, transforming the tale of young Clara’s dreamlike visit to the land of the Sugarplum Fairy into an island and undersea fantasy.

“Nutcracker Key West” stars a 15-member professional corps de ballet along with more than 50 Keys children and other local performers. Together, they bring the timeless story — spiced with a Keys flavor — to life onstage at the Tennessee Williams Theatre, 5901 College Road on the campus of Florida Keys Community College.

The cast is directed by classically trained dancer Joyce Stahl, a Key West resident who conceived and created the production after a 38-year association with New Jersey’s American Repertory Ballet.

The Key West ballet features dance sequences including a dream battle where toy sailors protect Clara from the Rooster King, recalling the island’s free-range chicken population. A scene set on the Keys’ living coral reef features young children costumed as phosphorescent anemones and colorful fish.

“Nutcracker Key West” incorporates elaborate sets and costumes designed by Stahl that are valued at more than $500,000. Many of the costumes for the 2014 production are enhanced with revolutionary fiber-optic and LED lights, expertly crafted to be nearly weightless so dancers can wear them easily. According to show organizers, the “Nutcracker” troupe is one of the first classical ballet companies in the United States to use the new costume technology.

Audiences can choose from evening and matinee performances, and show dates continue through Dec. 21. Ticket prices begin at $20 per person. Tickets can be purchased online at www.keystix.com or by calling 305-295-7676.