Carrie Petrak has lived a famous line of the Clement Clarke Moore poem A Visit from St. Nicholas.
The 13-year-old Columbia Middle School pupil has had visions of sugar plums dancing in her head since she learned about two months ago that she would dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy for the school performances of the Augusta Dance Theatre's The New Nutcracker.
The children's ballet company will present the dance at Augusta State University's Performing Arts Theatre for schools on Friday and for the public at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
"I'm very excited. It's very challenging," Carrie said.
Carlee Snyder, an Evans High School junior and dancer at the Augusta Ballet, will be the featured guest in the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy on Saturday and Sunday.
Carrie said she's been learning from Carlee.
"It's a very good experience. Carlee has done this before and gives some really good pointers," she said.
The Augusta Dance Theatre has been performing the beloved Christmas classic ballet for about eight years, and this is the first time director Ron Jones has placed a dancer so young in the role.
Jones said he likes experimenting with the roles and choreography of Nutcracker.
Jones, who danced with the Atlanta Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet, said he often heard dancers complain about the Christmas ballet.
"They dreaded Nutcracker," he said. "They were so used to doing the same version."
This year, he's changed the choreography in several of the dances.
The ballet is the story of a young girl named Clara who receives a nutcracker doll at a Christmas party from Drosselmeyer, who is either her uncle or her godfather, depending on the version. After the party, she falls asleep.
During a dream, she is saved from the Mouse King and his mice by the nutcracker doll and an army of toy soldiers.
After the battle, she travels through the snow to the Land of the Sweets, where she is met by the Sugar Plum Fairy and a variety of confections from throughout the world.
One of the dances that Jones changed was the Arabian dance. Last year, the piece featured an Arabian princess and sultan with the female dancer being the central focus.
The music evokes a sensual and sultry feel, and some people felt that dance was a little too provocative for younger dancers, so Jones created a tongue-in-cheek dance with one sultan and about a half-dozen harem girls.
At first, all the girls want to dance with him, but by the dance's end, they've all shunned him.
"It's different from anything I've ever seen before," said George Doss, the lone male in the piece. "It's usually just two people."
Tickets for The New Nutcracker are $17 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. For more information, call 860-1852.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.