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December 2-4, 2016 – Clara’s Dream from The Nutcracker


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December 2, 2016 at 7:30pm
December 3, 2016 at 7:30pm
December 4, 2016 at 2:00pm (Please join us for a Talk Back with the Company: Immediately following the Sunday performance meet Clara, Drosselmeyer and the Sugar Plum Fairy!

2004 Randolph Ave | St Paul, MN 55105
Tickets $19/$25/$32 (fees not included) Discounts for Students, Seniors

Clara’s Gift Boutique:
Plush dolls, kittens, puppets, angels, mice from North American Bear Company, as well as SPB track jackets, t-shirts and more. Shopping list>

Take Your Photo with the Company Dancers:
Use your camera or phone to snap photos with the main characters from Clara’s Dream in front of our decorated lobby tree following each show. Send us your photos to post on our Facebook page>


Join us for FREE Company Appearances

Saturday and Sunday, November 19 & 20, 12:30-2:20pm
655 Fairview Ave. N., St.Paul
Get a sneak peek into the making of Clara’s Dream from the Nutcracker during our Full Cast Rehearsal weekend. Come enjoy the buzz of rehearsal with a cup of hot cider in hand. See our cast of 100 dancers refine every minute of choreography and take final fittings in the magical costumes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 10:00am and 11:00am
Toddler Tuesday at the Mall of America
Join us in the magically decorated holiday rotunda at MOA. Enjoy excerpts from Clara’s Dream from the Nutcracker and a holiday craft with the costumed SPB Company dancers!

Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 11:00am
Barnes & Noble, Roseville at Har Mar Mall
Fall in love with the characters of Clara’s Dream during our Barnes & Noble Story Time the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Costumed SPB Company dancers will lead you through the Land of the Snowflakes to the Kingdom of Sweets.






The most delightful holiday event of the year returns for a third holiday season. Last year all shows were sold out over a week in advance so we’ve moved the performances to The O’Shaughnessy with enough seats for everyone!

Zoé Emilie Henrot’s Clara’s Dream from The Nutcracker is fun for all ages; the 90-minute length is a perfect way to introduce young children to the power and beauty of classical dance with Tchiakovsky’s amazing and familiar score.

Based on an original story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” by ETA Hoffman, SPB has reimagined the star of this story as Clara. The ballet opens with the familiar 19th-century holiday party where we are introduced to Clara and her uncle Drosselmeyer, a magician who arrives with dancing dolls. After the party Clara falls asleep and the magic begins. Her dream begins with a growing tree under which a battle between mice and toy soldiers takes place. She travels through the Land of Snows to the Kingdom of Sweets to meet waltzing flowers, nursery rhyme characters, dancers from many lands and the iconic Sugar Plum Fairy. It’s a “Magical Mystery Tour” of Clara’s journey from adolescence to adulthood told with innocence and wonder to one of the most layered and lush musical scores ever written.


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Last year the ballet unveiled breathtaking new scenery for the growing tree and the Land of the Sweets designed by Anne Henly along with shimmering new costumes for the Land of Snows by Christina Onusko. This is year-two of a three-year plan to enhance the production funded by a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council and audiences will see new scenery and props for the opening party scene.

“For my concept of Clara’s Dream, I found inspiration in illustrations of the Golden Age, as well as some of the Little Nemo in Slumberland cartoons from newspapers of the 1910s-1920s. These images emphasize movement within the composition, graphic line, and rich colors, all which will help tell our story of Clara’s Dream,” Anne Henly, Scenic designer.

“In the opening scenes, I have created a cozy and festive Victorian living room, complete with fancy drapes, gilded frames, and big bookshelves,” says Henly. She has used special techniques and colors to give the illusion of a grandiose living room, with high ceilings and a snow scene distinguishable through the large windows, a peak of what’s to come later in the performance.”

For the first time since 2013, the lead role of Clara will be played by a company artist. Bloomington native Michelle Ludwig brings her light and playful expression and technical aptitude to Ms. Henrot’s choreography, which has been adjusted to Ludwig’s considerable artistry and capability.

“We believe audiences will leave thoroughly satisfied by the caliber of St. Paul Ballet and the new fantastical production,” Artistic director Henrot says, “Clara’s Dream is our gift to the community.”



This is Zoé Henrot’s third season with St. Paul Ballet. In 2015 she was promoted to Artistic Director of the company. Zoé is an emerging choreographer whose work has been influenced by prominent choreographers such as Peter Davison, Ana Claire, Jim Coleman, Terese Freedman, Rose & Charles Flachs, Kinsun Chan, and Diane Coburn-Bruning. In 2011, she began ‘Becoming Undone,’ her largest work, which premiered in March 2012. In November 2012, Ms. Henrot was invited to be a guest choreographer for the Five College Dance Department in Massachusetts. She choreographed ‘Gray Matter,’ which premiered at the Southern Theater as part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival in August 2013. Her most recent work, ‘Nadine,’ followed in 2014. Zoé received most of her dance training from Boulder Ballet in Colorado, becoming an apprentice with the company in the 2007-2008 season. She attended Mount Holyoke College where she studied Dance and Biological Sciences. In addition to her training in Boulder and at Mount Holyoke College, Zoé has trained with Kansas City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Joffrey Ballet.


Anne Henly, a Twin Cities-based scenic designer, holds a BA in Studio Art from Macalester College and an MFA in Scenic Design from the University of Minnesota’s Theatrical Design and Technology Program. “In my life, I crave a meaningful artistic practice that allows me to work with my hands everyday and work as part of a team,” she says. Ms. Henly’s goal is to make theatre productions that distill the message/story/scenery to its essence in order for the audience to make connections more easily without extraneous visual distractions.

Last year, SPB unveiled breathtaking new scenery for the growing tree and the Kingdom of the Sweets designed by Ms. Henly. Her newest creation makes its debut this year in the party and battle scenes.