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'Nutcracker' debuts tonight

Madison Garber and Rick Clark, guest artists from Pas de Vie Bllet of Tallahassee, Fla., walk through their performance for "The Nutcracker" during a rehearsal Tuesday at the Albany Municipal Auditorium. (Nov. 29, 2012)

Madison Garber and Rick Clark, guest artists from Pas de Vie Bllet of Tallahassee, Fla., walk through their performance for "The Nutcracker" during a rehearsal Tuesday at the Albany Municipal Auditorium. (Nov. 29, 2012)

ALBANY, Ga. — Some of the area’s top dancers — both professional and amateur — will take the stage tonight to perform a ballet that has become a holiday staple.

The Ballet Theatre of the South will put on three shows this weekend of the “Nutcracker,” beginning with a debut showing at 7:30 p.m. today at the Municipal Auditorium, said Zan Twiggs, the organization’s president.

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Morgan Ethridge and Jesse Middlebrooks rehearse their roles as Clara and the Nutcracker prince Tuesday at the Albany Municipal Auditorium. (Nov. 29, 2012)

Shows start at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“It’ll be a great opportunity for our dancers to perform with trained professionals,” Twiggs said. “We hope the community will come out and enjoy this classic.”

“The Nutcracker,” a ballet based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice,” was adapted by renowned author Alexander Dumas in 1891. Famed composer Peter Tchaikovsky composed the music for the ballet and on its initial showing in 1892 was disliked by audiences and critics alike.

But the “Nutcracker” has become one of the most widely performed ballets in the world since that time, and now will become the Ballet Theatre of the South’s Winter performance piece.

The theater troupe is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote ballet and theatrical dance. They’ve been teaching the ins and outs of pirouettes and plies since Albany ballet matriarch Maude Evelyn Murphy created the organization in 1980.

According to its website, “Murphy had a vision of providing local and area dancers an oppurtunity to perform with a variety of professional dancers and oppurtunity to perform with a variety of professional teachers and choreographers in order to promote the art of dance in her community.”