'The Nutcracker' tradition continues

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A Christmas tradition will take place again this weekend in the Peoria area when "The Nutcracker" ballet is performed.

This year, however, it will be performed in two different venues by two different dance companies, but at the same time on Saturday and Sunday in Peoria and Morton.

The Peoria Ballet will present the classic, with the score by Tchaikovsky, at the Peoria Civic Center Theatre. It will be the 36th year the group has performed "The Nutcracker," with most of them at the Civic Center.

The Peoria Ballet performance this year will mark the third to be directed by Servy Gallardo, artistic director for Peoria Ballet.

Music will be performed by the Heartland Festival Orchestra, directed by David Commanday.

Tickets are on sale and prices range from $10 to $45. For more information visit www.peoriaballet.com.

"The Nutcracker" is the chief event for the Peoria Ballet each year. The company also performs a spring show at Five Points in Washington.

Across the river and up the road a piece, Cornerstone Academy of Fine Arts will perform "The Nutcracker" at the Bertha Franks Performing Arts Center in Morton. It will be Cornerstone's second time doing the ballet; it performed it at The Orpheum in Galesburg in 2012.

Rebekah von Rathonyi, artistic director at Cornerstone who once had the same position at Peoria Ballet, told the Peoria Journal Star that "The Nutcracker" may become an annual tradition in Morton, as well. It is being performed in partnership with the Morton Fine Arts Association.

Tickets for the Cornerstone performance range from $12 to $26. For more information visit www.cornerstoneballet.com.

Both companies will perform "The Nutcracker" three times, but at the same time: at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

"The Nutcracker" tells the story of Clara and the Nutcracker, with spectacular costumes and sets. The ballet is based on the story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," written by E.T.A. Hoffman. It was originally performed in 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia.