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Purchase Director Adds Flavor to Traditional Show

HARRISON, N.Y. - There's something different about this year's production of "The Nutcracker" brewing inside the confines of SUNY Purchase.

College Dance Conservatory Director Wallie Wolfgruber is leading more than 130 area children and close to 100 of the college's students in the traditional production, but adding in new choreography and unique twists to the classic music.

"I don't want to give away too many surprises," Wolfgruber said. "But there will also be some brilliant new costumes, soldiers on pointe, and a neoclassical grand pas de deux."

Dubbed "NutcrackerEleven," Wolfgruber described the show as an artistic collaboration that bridges tradition and innovation.

"This is the classic Nutcracker story, but many of the scenes have new choreography, created by our accomplished faculty and guest artists John Heginbotham and Nicolo Fonte," Wolfgruber said.

Heginbotham is a member of the renowned Mark Morris Dance Group. Fonte, a Purchase College Conservatory of Dance alumnus, is a popular choreographer in the United States and in Europe.

In addition to the new choreography, Wolfgruber said she is making "NutcrackerEleven" even more unique this year by bringing in Wendall Harrington, an award-winning projectionist and Yale School of Drama lecturer, to open the show with multimedia magic.

"We wanted to engage our students and the Westchester community in an even more creative way," Wolfgruber said. "Our exceptionally talented dancers and the children in the production will be performing choreography created just for them by both our world-renowned faculty and our daring and dynamic guest choreographers."

Six performances are scheduled between Dec. 8 and 11 at Purchase College in the Performing Arts Center. Performances are Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Dec 11 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

For ticket information, call the box office at (914) 251-6200 or visit www.artscenter.org .

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