BELOIT - It will be a magical and ethereal trip to another world when Beloit Janesville Symphony Orchestra (BJSO) brings a first-of-its-kind offering to the Janesville Performing Arts Center (JPAC) this holiday season - “BJSO Holiday Pops: The Nutcracker Ballet.”

“Don’t miss this one. It’s going to be on par with any first-class, fully-staged Nutcracker ballet anywhere,” said BJSO Music Director Rob Tomaro. “It’s right in or near your hometown. Bring everyone in the family and don’t miss it.”

“It’s really going to be a magical experience with a live orchestra,” said Company Director and Dance Instructor for Stoughton Center for the Arts and BJSO Dance Director and Choreographer Britton Dorcey. “The costumes are gorgeous, the talent is excellent and there is live music on top of it. I’m very excited.”

All performances will be held as follows: Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.; Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m.; and Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are selling swiftly at www.beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.

Tomaro explained there will be a full symphony presentation of music along with ballet thanks to BJSO contracting with Dorcey.

Dorcey said the production has been a long time in the making. Dorcey grew up learning ballet from Janesville’s Cheryl Schmidt who always loved what she called “storybook ballet” with a narrative.

“Ballet was her life and she was a phenomenal teacher. All of her students always did a ballet show at the end of the season,” Dorcey said.

Thanks to Schmidt’s tutelage, Dorcey recalled later dancing in the Nutcracker put on by Rockford Dance Company, treasuring the opportunity to dance along with the symphony and dance professionals.

Dorcey said StageWorks Projects, a non-profit production company, had been producing The Nutcracker in Stoughton for 25 years, but ceased production in 2016. Dorsey’s beloved dance mentor and teacher Cheryl Schmidt of Janesville suggested to Dorsey that The Nutcracker should come to Janesville one day in a conversation in 2017. Schmidt passed away later that same night.

The vision for The Nutcracker stayed strong in Dorcey's mind. In 2019, Dorcey started reaching out to JPAC and BSJO and was met with full support.

“This was on my bucket list. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for six or seven years when I saw Britton (Dorcey) do it in Stoughton, and it was beautiful,” Tomaro said. “The stars have aligned and we realized we could make it happen. Britton (Dorcey) was fabulous to work with and put together a great company. The musicians are very excited to begin rehearsal in mid-December.”

Dorcey held auditions in mid-July and rounded up 69 dancers ranging in age from 6 to 40-plus. They were to perform in tutus, made in Russian more than 20 years ago, and soon-to-be sewn costumes. Dancers have been practicing every Sunday since September.

The dancers represent Life Dance Academy, Veracity Dance Project and 5678 Dance Studio of Janesville; Marx Dance Academy and the Rising Stars School of Baton Tumbling and Dance of Beloit; Stoughton Center for the Arts; Miss Andrea’s Dance Factory in Rockton, Illinois; Starlight Dance Studio in Edgerton; and Fort Atkinson’s Main Street Dance Studio.

Dorcey explained the story behind the Nutcracker, noting it begins as a Christmas party with a little girl named Clara. Her uncle Drosselmeyer comes to the party with his nephew who will later be the Nutcracker Prince.

“Uncle Drosselmeyer brings magical dolls and toys to the party and gives the Nutcracker to Clara. She falls asleep and Uncle Drosselmeyer returns, bringing the toy soldiers to life as well as giant mice who have a battle. Once the Nutcracker Prince defeats the Mouse King, Clara and the prince travel to the Land of Sweets where she meets the ‘Tea from China,’ ‘Chocolate from Spain,’ the Sugar Plum Fairy and ‘Candy Canes from Russia,’” Dorcey said.

“It’s at a Titanic level of creation and artistry,” Tomaro said. “It never gets old. It sounds like it could be written two weeks from now and still retain its freshness.”

Tomaro said Tchaikovsky tended to create ethereal, romantic and other worldly music.

“You can see hints of it in some of the overtures and symphonies. But in this, in which he is writing about dreams and fantasies, the music feels like it is taking you up and floating you as an audience member into some magical dream world,” Tomaro said.

Dorcey said Sophia Meyer of Veracity Dance Project in Janesville, will portray Clara, the young girl in the production who receives a magical nutcracker and travels to the Land of Sweets.

Some of the main roles include: Madelyn Moline of the Artistic Edge Dance Center in Hartland, Wisconsin who will portray the Snow Queen; Natalie Wesolek of Stoughton Center for the Arts who will portray Sugar Plum Fairy; Seth Loncar, a Beloit native who is an instructor at Marx Dance Academy who will portray Drosselmeyer; Anthony Vitaioli of Edgerton High School who will portray the Prince; Taylor Wiele, an instructor at Life Dance Academy in Janesville to portray the character “Chocolate from Spain; and Kendyll Hazzard, an instructor from Stoughton Center for the Arts who will portray “Tea from China.”

The “Mouse King” will be portrayed by Declan Boran-Ragotzy, the director of the No Limits Dance Program, established for children and adults with learning or physical differences. Dorcey noted six people from the No Limits Dance Program are cast as mice, and two from the program are butlers.

Dorcey said there is something magical about being able to take dancers from all the area studios and bring them together.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity, and a lot of this was Cheryl’s dream,” Dorcey said. “I love the thought of bringing the studios together in an industry that is separated often with competition.What dance should be about, for everyone sharing and working together with one purpose.

Dorcey and Tomaro said they hope The Nutcracker might become an annual tradition.

“If people really turn out and support it, I would love to have it a holiday tradition at JPAC in the same way it does for orchestras and ballets all over,” Tomaro said.