Guest artists Erica Cornejo, Boston Ballet principal dancer, and Carlos Molina, former American Ballet Theatre soloist and Boston Ballet principal, will dance the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier in Franklin Performing Arts Company's presentation of The Nutcracker.
A popular FPAC tradition for more than 20 years, performances will take place tonight, December 8, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 9, at 2:00 p.m. at the Thomas D. Mercer Auditorium, 224 Oak Street in Franklin.
FPAC's production of this timeless classic features more than 100 dancers from 25 towns and many area dance schools. Under the direction of Peter Cokkinias, a professional, live orchestra will perform Tchaikovsky's classic score. Austro-Italian violinist Olivia de Prato of NYC, an internationally recognized soloist and chamber musician, serves as concert mistress.
Born in Argentina, Erica Cornejo trained at the Arts Institute of the Colon Theatre in Buenos Aires. At age 14, she won a gold medal at the Second International Ballet Competition in Argentina and was invited to join Julio Bocca's Ballet Argentino. After joining American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company in 1998, Cornejo became a member of ABT's corps de ballet and was promoted to soloist in 2002. In 2006, Cornejo joined the Boston Ballet as a principal dancer. Her diverse repertoire since joining Boston Ballet includes Nissinen's Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, Nureyev's Don Quixote, Bournonville's La Sylphide, Gielgud's Giselle, Balanchine's Coppelia, Tharp's In the Upper Room and Forsythe's The Second Detail.
Colombian-born Carlos Molina began his career with the Ballet de Cali before joining the Hartford Ballet in 1994 as a principal dancer. Following his win of the first Igor Youskevitch Award at the New York International Ballet Competition in 1996, Molina joined the American Ballet Theatre in 1998, quickly rising from corp member to soloist. In 2004, Molina joined the Boston Ballet as a principal dancer, retiring from the company after six years to pursue a freelance career. As a freelance principal dancer, Molina has been a featured guest artist with many renowned companies, choreographers and schools. He has worked with noted choreographers including Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Nacho Duato, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Twayla Tharp and Choo San Goh.
Real-life husband and wife, Molina and Cornejo reprise roles danced in FPAC's 2010 and 2011 Nutcracker productions, respectively. FPAC Executive Director Raye Lynn Mercer said, "Our company is proud to bring international ballet stars to Franklin. It is a treat for our audiences and a thrill for the young dancers who share the stage, accompanied by our world-class musicians."
A graduate of the Franklin School for the Performing Arts and Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, Andrew Scott Holmes also returns to the FPAC stage for this Nutcracker presentation, dancing the role of the Prince and the well-known Russian variation in the ballet's second acT. Holmes performed previously in FPAC productions of Into the Woods, Footloose and Macbeth (FPAC's Whatever Theater Festival), among others. Regionally, Holmes has performed in productions of Cabaret, Chicago, Hello Dolly and Hairspray and was most recently cast in Carousel at the Goodspeed Opera House.
A distinctive suburban non-profit arts organization founded in 1991, FPAC presents quality performances while offering opportunities for professional artists, amateur performers, families and students of the arts to work together in a collaborative and creative environment.
Tickets for The Nutcracker cost $30, $28, and $26 and may be purchased at the FPAC Box Office (34 Main Street, Franklin), through online ticketing at www.fpaconline.com, or by phone at 508-528-8668. Performances are expected to sell out.