‘Nutcracker’ features two princes and a surprise guest

| December 1, 2022 | 0 Comments

THIS YEAR’S role of the Prince will be shared by Zarek King, (shown above as the Pirate in 2019’s “Nutcracker” production) and guest Yui Masuda.

After a two-year hiatus, enthusiasm is bubbling as the curtain is set to rise on the Marat Daukayev School of Ballet production of “The Nutcracker.”

This year’s production — the school’s 20th — will feature four performances on Dec. 10 and 11 with 96 students from the school and guest Yui Masuda visiting from Tokyo to perform the role of the Prince.

“Yui spoke no English when he arrived, but the students found a way to welcome him into their midst. His parents and grandparents are coming from Japan to see his performances,” Pamela Daukayev told us.

Masuda shares the coveted role of the Prince with Zarek King, 15, who has studied with Marat since he was 11 years old and now is a student at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA).

Students come all the way from Santa Monica in the west and from Glendale in the east, many times a week, for classes and rehearsals, Pamela tells us. Dancing in this year’s production are eight students from Immaculate Heart, three from St. James’, 11 from Marlborough, two from John Thomas Dye, and others from International School of Los Angeles / Lycée International, Lycée Français, LACHSA and Harvard-Westlake.

Grace Tankenson, who lives on Lucerne Boulevard, will dance Snow Queen and Dew Drop in this year’s production. Local Lola Vernetti will perform Spanish and Arabian dances in the ballet.

“Audiences at Sunday’s performances may be treated to a surprise appearance of a star — we can’t say if the visitor will be from the North Pole or perhaps a famous ballerina,” Pamela told us. She added, “Marat, who spent his career as a star of the Kirov, will reprise his role of Drosselmeyer with his students at all performances. The dancers cannot wait to perform for you!”

Performances will take place on Sat., Dec 10, at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sun., Dec 11, at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. The four performances will be at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State Los Angeles, 5151 State University Dr., just east of Downtown.

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