Island Dance Academy presents ‘The Nutcracker’

Island Dance Academy and the Palace Theater present “The Nutcracker” ballet at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Dec. 8.

In this classic story, Clara Stahlbaum receives an enchanted Nutcracker from her godfather, Drosselmeyer (the role is portrayed by Jim Highfill/Travis Premo).


Clara’s brother, Fritz, gets a Rat King puppet, perhaps symbolizing his rascally nature. At midnight the Nutcracker and the Rat King come to life, and engage in a fight to the death. Clara saves his life by distracting the Rat King. The Nutcracker’s enchantment is broken, and he once again becomes a prince. In gratitude, he takes Clara through the land of Snow and Ice, to the Kingdom of the Sweets, where she is the guest of honor.

Jada Leite stars as Clara, with Elizabeth Walker dancing the part of her pesky brother Fritz. Kassie O’Dell is Mrs. Stahlbaum, with Dakota Birgado-Tavares as Mr. Stahlbaum. Ricky Xie is the heroic Nutcracker, who fights the evil Rat King, played by Annabella Cabanila.

In the Kingdom of the Sweets, the Sugarplum Fairy (Megan Kimata) regales her guests with performers from foreign lands: Spanish Chocolate (Catherine Chow), Arabian Coffee (Kaia Broomell, Kaylee Magdaro, Kassie O’Dell and Kei-Lyn Ono) and Chinese Tea (Kayla Okahara-Olsen, Kira Okazaki and Karissa Shimaoka).

The always popular dance of the Cooks and Lobsters gives the audience a bit of comic relief, and the energetic music of the Russians makes you hold your breath until the final pose.

Suen Hughes, Island Dance Academy’s director, has been producing full-length Nutcracker peformances at the Palace since 1999.

This year’s choreography has been updated to reflect teacher and choreographer Zoi Nakamura’s summer attendance at the 2019 Asia Pacific Dance Festival Intensive and Conference held at the Universoty of Hawaii Manoa. While there she learned from resident artists from Malaysia and Canada.

Tickets are available at the Most Irresistible Shop in Hilo (cash and checks) and at the Palace Theatre box office (cash and credit cards). Credit card orders may be placed by calling the Palace at 934-7010.

Ticket prices are $12, general admission and $10 for seniors 60 and older, and children 12 and under. This is a co-production with the historic Palace Theater.


A generous portion of the proceeds goes to the theater and its renovation projects.

For more information, contact Hughes at 756-7889 or at or visit the website:

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