Megan Fairchild and Joaquin De Luz will play Sugarplum Fairy and Cavalier. Photos by Joe Marquez
By Simplicio Paragas
Clara’s journey to the Land of the Sweets starts a couple of weeks earlier this year. The start of the Nut season — as it’s affectionately called by ballerinas — arrives at the Blaisdell Concert Hall on November 9, 10 and 11. Based on E. T. A. Hoffmann’s, “The Nutcracker and The Mouse King,” this holiday favorite plays out on stages across the country, whisking away audience members to the classic Kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Megan Fairchild was 8 years old when she first saw “The Nutcracker” performed by Ballet West in Utah, a defining moment for the then-aspiring ballerina. “I thought it was cool seeing kids my own age on stage,” she recalls. “The next year I auditioned.”
And two decades later, the principal dancer with the New York City Ballet says she has played just about every role in this perennial classic.
More than 185 aspiring dancers will appear in the show.
No longer. The pixieish dancer is now completely comfortable with her lead role and with fellow NYCB principal dancer Joaquin De Luz, who often dances opposite Fairchild and takes on the role as Cavalier for this production.
“We’re very well matched up because we’re the same height (5’3½”),” Fairchild explains. “We’re used to each other’s movements and it’s nice to be able to share a large part of your career with someone else.”
Joining Fairchild and De Luz on stage will be a national cadre of ballerinas, including Sokvannara (Sy) Sar, star of the critically-acclaimed film “Dancing Across Borders;” New York City Ballet’s Andrew Veyette (Fairchild’s spouse) and Sterling Hyltin; and Carolina Ballet’s Lilyan Vigo Ellis and Timor Bourtasenkov; as well as Broadway’s John Selya and Puanani Brown from American Ballet Theatre. More than 185 young and aspiring dancers from across Hawaii — including guest star Moanike’ala Nabarro, weather anchor for KITV 4’s Morning News — will also appear on stage.
“This is a magnificent class of visiting dancers,” says Pamela Taylor Tongg, Ballet Hawaii’s artistic director. “They’re all great role models for the kids; they talk to them, encourage them and help lift their sights. Even if the kids don’t pursue ballet, this is an incredible experience for them.”
Tickets start at $35. An opening night dinner package will be available at HASR Bistro, which includes parking, dinner and a VIP seat. For reservations, call 521.8600.
“This is a coveted gig and I’ve been coming out here — with the exception of last year because we were filming ‘The Nutcracker’ for PBS — since I was 20 years old,” Fairchild says. “Everyone is so jealous … it’s Hawaii.”
For more information, visit ballethawaii.org.