More than 40 local dancers are getting ready to spend one intense day with the Moscow Ballet's ballerinas and danseurs rehearsing and performing the "Great Russian Nutcracker."

"These girls have worked very, very hard since they auditioned," said Leslie Heath, an instructor with Dance Works Studio. "They are so excited. My girls are just over the moon and so ready to do this."

Performances of the "Great Russian Nutcracker" will be at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at Avalon Theatre, 645 Main St.

Tickets range from $29–$175 and can be purchased at or the Avalon Theatre's box office.

The local dancers range in age from 5–17 and are from Dance Works and Adagio Dance Academy. They will dance as party children, mice, snowflakes, snow maidens, French, Arabian and older and young Spanish, Chinese and Russian, Heath said.

All of the dancers auditioned and learned choreography in October with Maria Yevdokymova, Moscow Ballet soloist and audition director.

Some of Dance Work's dancers have performed in the "Great Russian Nutcracker" multiple years and "they really love it. It is a great learning experience for them to learn how the Russians teach their ballet," Heath said.

The day of the show will be long for the young dancers, who will arrive at the Avalon early Sunday morning for costumes, pictures and a full rehearsal before the first performance at 1 p.m.

But during that day or after the final bows that evening, the local dancers get some one-on-one time with the Russian ballerinas and danseurs to talk, take pictures and get autographs, Heath said.

One year, a Dance Works dancer "had all or most of the Russian ballerinas sign her pointe shoes," Heath said. The girl was so excited "she was in tears."

For information about the Moscow Ballet's "Great Russian Nutcracker," go to

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