The Centre Company’s The Nutcracker

Above: American Ballet Theatre principal dancer, Cory Stearns, as Cavalier, and Orlando Ballet trainee, Julia Carlson, as the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The holiday family favorite and treasured ballet is back: Don’t miss Centre Company’s The Nutcracker this month!

By Beth Luna, photos courtesy Centre Company

It is Christmas Eve, and the party guests begin to arrive. The tree is lit, the dancing begins, the chef prepares a holiday dinner and treats, and everyone is in a festive mood. The scene is set for The Nutcracker, the treasured ballet and family holiday favorite. The Centre Performing Arts Company, the non-profit affiliate of Lasley Centre for the Performing Arts in Vint Hill, presents their rendition of this classic, full-length production for three shows December 7 and 8.

One of the ballet world’s brightest stars, American Ballet Theatre (ABT) Principal Dancer Cory Stearns, returns for the second year to dance the parts of both Cavalier and the Nutcracker.

"Cory is not only a beautiful and artistic dancer at one of the world’s top ballet companies, but also an extraordinary person,” said Artistic Director Kalie Lasley. “His kindness with our students, parents and faculty make for a wonderful experience for everyone involved, and what an amazing treat for the audience to have him dance here locally."

Born on Long Island, New York, Cory Stearns began his classical training at the age of five with Mme. Valia Seiskaya at the Seiskaya Ballet. At fifteen, he participated in the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition and was offered a full scholarship to The Royal Ballet School in London, one of the top programs in the world. Stearns performed in Madrid, Moscow, Milan, Düsseldorf and London while at The Royal, graduating with honors.

Stearns joined the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company in September 2004, the main Company as an apprentice in January 2005, and became a member of the corps de ballet in January 2006. He was appointed a Soloist in January 2009 and a Principal Dancer in January 2011. His repertoire includes the top ballet roles for male dancers from the classics and beyond.


Daniel Lasley and Teresa Carlson, as the Peacock, in Centre Company’s 2018 production.

Once again, American Ballet Theatre principal dancer, Cory Stearns, joins Centre Company for The Nutcracker.

Robert Celentano as the Mouse King in Centre Company’s 2018 production.

As with last year’s production, the Sugar Plum Fairy is danced by former Lasley student and current Orlando Ballet trainee Julia Carlson of Warrenton. Other casting includes Samantha Dumais of Gainesville as Clara, Annabelle Luna of Nokesville as Snow Queen and Flower Soloist, Lasley Ballet Master Mark Rubin as Drosselmeyer, and Elly-Anne Chavez of Warrenton as Naughty Mouse. 

There is an interesting connection between Lasley Centre and this ballet - The Nutcracker premiered in Russia in 1892 but was first performed in the United States in 1944 by the San Francisco Ballet, the same company that Ms. Lasley danced with in her days as a professional ballet dancer.

The magic of The Nutcracker is a wonderful introduction to the arts for younger children and those new to ballet or live performance in general. The lovely dream sequence in The Land of Sweets, the gorgeous, colorful costumes, and the recognizable score by Tchaikovsky speak to all ages, and it is the Company’s hope that their production will continue to be a cherished tradition for area families. Even those with very young children are encouraged to attend and share the experience.

Local mother of three daughters Sylvia Updegraff attended several Nutcrackers in the region in search of a ballet studio for her family, settling on Lasley Centre for the Performing Arts because of the quality of the presentation.

“There is amazing production value with this Nutcracker,” she said. “The choreography, costumes and level of dancing are top-notch. This is the perfect family-friendly way to enjoy a beautiful production of The Nutcracker!”

Centre Company presents The Nutcracker
Location: Fauquier High School, 705 Waterloo Rd, Warrenton.
Dates & Times: Saturday, December 7 at 2pm and 6pm; Sunday, December 8 at 4pm.
Tickets: $25 ($20 for those under 20 and over 55) ; to purchase, visit:
For information on Centre Company: Visit or call 540-905-8311.
For information on Lasley Centre for the Performing Arts: Visit

Catch The Nutcracker that fits your seasonal schedule!

December 18-23 ; Manassas Ballet Theatre presents The Nutcracker at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. For tickets and information, visit

December 21-22: DeGrasse Dance Studio and Potomac Ballet Company present The Nutcracker at Gar-Field Senior High School, Woodbridge. For tickets and information, visit

December 21-22: The Fairfax Symphony and Fairfax Ballet present The Nutcracker at the George Mason University Center for the Arts – Concert Hall. Visit and click on “Concerts.”


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Piedmont Lifestyles Publications welcome contributions from any and all members of the community. Email news and photos to or call us at (540) 349-2951.

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