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TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – A Christmas tradition takes place this weekend as the Tupelo Ballet performs “The Nutcracker.”

Since September, dancers with the Tupelo Ballet have rehearsed, practiced and polished their parts.

One hundred and sixty dancers, from first graders, through high school seniors are part of the well known ballet. Director Sharon Long says although this is the 35th year for the Christmas event, she looks forward to it each season.

“It is my life, Nutcracker is a tradition in our community, it is proud for me as an artist myself to be able to present this to my community, when I was growing up and dancing I wasn’t able to dance in the Nutcracker in Tupelo, this is something special for our community,” Long said.

It is also special for Anna Calhoun, who plays the “Snow Queen.” The Tupelo High School senior remembers wanting to play the prime role, as a youngster, 11 years ago.

“Since I started Nutcracker, you see the Snow Queen perform on the side of the stage and you say, I want to be the Snow Queen one day, even when you’re a little Peppermint, at 5 years old, you want to be the Snow Queen. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, on your own time too, not just in class,” Calhoun said.

Each production features a different cast and costumes, along with guest dancers. Kenny Corrigan is a freelance artist from New York City. He is this year’s Snow King.

“Even if you’ve seen the show hundreds of times, it’s always a classic, the music, dancing, costumes, everyone works really hard to put this production on,” Corrigan said.

Tupelo Ballet performs “The Nutcracker” this Saturday at the high school’s performing arts center.

There is a matinee at 2 p.m.  and an evening performance at 7:30. For more information ,go to tupeloballet.com or call 662-844-1928.

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