Two principal dancers with the New York City Ballet return to Frederick this year to dance the parts of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier in “The Nutcracker.”
“We’ll be there for three days,” says Megan Fairchild, who will make the trip with her husband, Andrew Veyette, to dance in four performances starting Dec. 7.
The couple, along with local dancers and ballet students, will perform in the 33rd presentation of the holiday classic by the Frederick-based Maryland Regional Ballet, which is associated with the Frederick School of Classical Ballet.
No stranger to “The Nutcracker,” Fairchild says she first performed in it as a child studying jazz, tap and ballet in Salt Lake City.
She ultimately chose to pursue ballet because she appreciated its rigor.
“I loved the discipline of it,” she says. “Ballet has very specific technique. I like that I can work close to being right.”
“I like it because it requires a certain amount of perfection,” she says.
Fairchild danced the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy in a New York City Ballet performance filmed live for the Public Broadcasting System last December.
Following in her footsteps at the New York City Ballet is her younger brother, Robert Fairchild, also a principal dancer with the company, who was featured in a Nov. 25, “60 Minutes” segment making his debut in the ballet “Apollo.”
Also coming back to Frederick this year to perform in “The Nutcracker” is Alexander Ritter, a former dancer with the New York City Ballet who is now in medical school. He will again dance the role of Dr. Drosselmeyer.
Based on a story by E.T.A. Hoffman with music by Tchaikovsky, the ballet takes place on Christmas Eve at a festive family party that includes young Clara and her brother Fritz.
Dr. Drosselmeyer arrives with life-size dancing dolls and presents Clara with a toy nutcracker that looks like a soldier, according to the performance program.
Clara later falls asleep and, in her dream, watches a battle between toy soldiers led by the Nutcracker and a band of mice lead by the Mouse King.
Victorious, the Nutcracker turns into a prince and takes Clara, now a princess, to the Land of Snow.
They journey to the Land of Sweets, where they are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy, who asks her subjects to entertain Clara with a series of dances with names like Chocolate, Coffee, Tea and Marzipan.
The entertainment ends with the Waltz of the Flowers, and the Sugar Plum Fairy express their appreciation in a pas de deux with the Cavalier.
“It’s very classic music,” says Fairchild. “It’s Tchaikovsky.”
This year the roles of Clara and brother Fritz will alternate between Caroline Amadeo and Kayla Grace Horn, with Lydia Urban dancing the role of the nephew and Nutcracker Prince.
Dancing the role of the Mouse King will be Connor Holdridge, and dancing the part of the Snow Queen will be Armani Coiner.
Fairchild says she has no regrets about choosing ballet over other forms of dance.
“It’s very important, very special, and it has a rich history,” she says.
“I do it because I love it.”