A real warmth comes into Alison Stroming’s voice.
She’s just finished performing the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy for the first time with the New Jersey Ballet Company in Newark, New Jersey, and she feels like royalty.
“It made me feel so beautiful,” she says. “I really do feel like a queen.”
Stroming will star in the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s production of “The Nutcracker — A Tale From the Bayou.” The production runs for two performances each day on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 20-21, in the Baton Rouge River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts.
Stroming will be portraying the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Louisiana-themed production, and Carlos Lopez will be her Cavalier. The two will also dance the parts of the Snow Queen and King.
Stroming is a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, whose tour stopped in Baton Rouge earlier in the fall. The Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre hosted the company’s performance, which gave Stroming a chance to meet artistic directors Molly Buchmann and Sharon Mathews.
“All of this helps, because I’ll be comfortable coming into the performance in Baton Rouge,” Stroming says.
Though the production will mark Lopez’s first visit to Louisiana, he also is at ease.
Lopez usually spends his Decembers dancing the parts of Snow King and Cavalier in different cities.
And, he and Lopez have already been working together on the Baton Rouge project.
“Alison and I both live in New York, so it was convenient for us to meet and work out the choreography together,” he says.
It’s not that the “Nutcracker” choreography completely varies from one production to the next, but each dance partner is different, with his or her own unique set of characteristics.
“That saves us a lot of time,” Lopez says, speaking from his latest “Nutcracker” appearance in Wisconsin. “And I know that I’ll be dancing to a live orchestra this time, and that also makes a difference.”
The Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra will accompany the four performances, and live musicians mean no two performances are exactly alike.
“A live orchestra makes it more exciting for me,” Lopez says, “I would like to dance to a live orchestra all the time.”
Lopez was 11 years old when he walked into his first ballet class. He never dreamed that it would lead to a career that would include stints as a company dancer and soloist with the American Ballet Theatre in New York. Now 38, the native of Madrid, Spain, started out in gymnastics.
“My teacher told my parents that I was very good, and they should enroll me in a class,” he says. “So, my mom enrolled me in a ballet class. I loved it. I trained with the Victor Ullate School, and I joined the company when I was 16.”
His career also includes stints as a company dancer and soloist with the American Ballet Theatre in New York. These days, he coaches the theatre’s Student Company and works with ballet companies throughout the nation.
Stroming, 21, has been dancing since she was 3. Born in Brazil and adopted by American parents when she was 8 months old, she grew up in New Jersey and enrolled in a variety of dance classes, including tap and hip hop. The family moved to New York when, at age 9, Stroming was accepted into the School for American Ballet.
“My brothers used to be dancers,” Stroming says. “They danced on Broadway, and I became interested in dance because of them.”
She also trained with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at the American Ballet Theatre in New York before dancing two seasons with the Alberta Ballet in Canada. She most recently danced with Ballet San Jose before joining the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
“I feel so lucky to be a part of the Dance Theatre of Harlem,” Stroming says. “All of my company members get along so well, and I love dancing and touring with them. I love being on the road and seeing the country and different parts of the world.”
Stroming and Lopez will share the Baton Rouge stage with veteran Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre soloists and former company members LeBrian Patrick and Meredith Broussard. Patrick, who now lives in Atlanta, returns to his dual roles of The Nutcracker and the Arabian. Broussard, who lives in New York, returns to Baton Rouge to play the Azalea Fairy.
Cajun Girl/Clara — Grace Asevedo, Jordan Boshea, Gabriella Martinez, Mary Grace Beck; Parrain/Uncle Drosselmeyer — Leonard Augustus Jr.; Fritz — Noah Hawkins, Martin Helouin; Mr. Stahlbaum — Brad Blanchard; Mrs. Stahlbaum — Pam Matassa, Sonya Blanchard; Grandfather — Rick Holden, John Sallinger; Grandmother — Robbie Phillabaum, Norma Rutledge; Guests — Kevin Bell, Sam Breaux, Erin Brown, Ryan Chenevert, Nicole Simmons, Melanie Couvillon, Ob Soonthornsima, Ryn Jones,Renée Puyau Stelzer, Katherine Landry,Wayne Talbot, Kelly Poiencot; The Maid — Jessica Watson, Jenny Heroman; The Butler — William O. Watson IV, Adam Koenig; Children — Beau Blanchard, Anna Baumgartner, Alezar Forbes, Nicholas Honoré, Nia Butler, Alex Kirkland Jr., Evelyn Carley, Lena Laroussi, Andrea Chen, Tyler Martinez, Isabel Clements, Jayson Matherne, Alezar Forbes, Molly Kate McMaster, Caroline Gaspard, Monreau Morrison, Isabella Grier, Megan Otterstetter, Lexy Smicker, Kaden Soonthornsima, Leongé Turner, Jayde Elise Woodard, Elizabeth Zaffuto, Gabrielle Thibodeaux, Maeve Zelden; Dolls — Meredith Broussard, Madison Dillenberger, Mary Beth Maddox, Emelia Perkins; Bear — Erin Molly Mann; Mouse King — Marlon Grigsby; The Nutcracker — Le’Brian Patrick; Mice — Addie Goins, Ansley Brown, Marc Acosta, Breanna Ryce Graham, Morgan Brown, Zoe Hanson, Madison Davis, Alexis Harvey, James Gaspard, Aubrey Jones, Alexis Harvey, Anna Kirk Lawson, Olivia Landrem, Katherine Leake, Macen Melancon, Jordan LeMay, Jenna Robinson, Lilly Leonard, Jaida Shelmire, Chloe Lockwood, Adrienne Simmons, Madison Morel, Ingrid Aracely Wagner, Cassie Yang, Cindy Xu, Estelle Yeargain; Soldiers — Charlotte Balart, Katherine Collins, Maile Braden, Leah Cox, Lacey Budd, Chloe Higgins, Natalie Gaspard, Alexandra Massey, Anna Kathryn Jones, Caroline Petty, Benton Jones, Anna Pousson, Alison Qi, Katherine Scott, Ryan Whaley; Snow King — Carlos Lopez; Snow Queen — Alison Stroming; Snow Soloists — Caroline Schulenberg, Katie Rose DeLeo, Eryn Short, Hannah Gale; Snowflakes — Chandler Beaman, Emma Camille Barbin, Camille Barbin, Claire Broyles, Madeline Ford, Jeanette Delise, Estelle Crawford, Kelsie Guzik, Madeline Ford, Madison Dillenberger, Teddy Helouin, Kelsie Guzik, Delaney Dufrene, Eva Kruger, Elise Farris, Mary Beth Maddox, Claire Gregoire, Brittany Nettles, Megan Littleton, Abby Shortess, Emelia Perkins, Elizabeth Talbot, Alyssa Rainey, Claire White; Angels — Leah Cox, Catherine Bonaventure, Celia Fishbein, Catherine Carline, Morgan Gallegos, Natalie Gaspard, Emma Granier, Teddy Helouin, Claire Gregoire, Anna Kathryn Jones, Caroline Petty, Alison Qi, Cristina Riazuelo, Elise Saloom, Abby Shortess, Claire White; Cherubs — Ella Boone, Stella Barnes, Molly Ashworth, Madeline Baudoin, Emily Collins, Belle Bonner, Abigail Bakker, Lerin Bickham, Caitlin Dulaney, Kailyn Borskey, Isabella Ferrara, Sydnee Daniel, Hannah Duplessis, Gyanni Grace, Bella Palmintier, Khloe Mae Everett, Gracie Frederic, Greyson Halliday, Laura Purgerson, Cassidy Griffin, Elise Jurkovic, Ainsley Roberts, Claire Guerin, Olivia King, Katherine Lossett, Elise Thiery, Samara Humphrey, Aspen LeBlanc, Madeline McCoy, Abbie Turner, Anna Kathryn Parker, Sarah Li, McKenna Newton, Emma Turner, Kaden Snowbarger, Mallory Naquin, Caroline Pousson, Anna White, Sophia St. Martin, Rachel Stanger, Anna Truax, Wilhelmina Wilson, Anna White, Ellis Tircuit, Michaela Tsanova, Avery Yeargain, Wilhelmina Wilson; Head Chef — Ketreon Butler, Le’Tiger Walker; Chefs — Javier Banks, Samantha Bass, Brent Helouin; Cooks — Callie Canepa, Avery Claire Bateman, Molly Beth Blanchard, Lillian Bourgeois, Taylor Cuccia, Elizabeth Baudoin, Caroline Creech, Tori Cedotal, Elisabeth Dardar, Madison Birdwell, Grace Hidalgo, Emma Davis, Megyn Gauthier, Genevieve Carr, Hannah Hunt, Madeline deVries, Abigail Gibson, Mia-Miracle Craig, Ana Victoria Isaac, Victoria Dooley, Grace Gonzales, Gabriella Desio, Amanda Johnson, Madelyn Fakouri, Isabella Landaiche, Bailey Homa, Claire Johnson, Callie Hardy, Laney McCrary, Gillian Lafleur, Hanna Lee, Auri Mancik, Pratima Pinnepalli, Jessi Nickens, Anna Claire Manson, Kathryn Sheets, Kelijah West, Mary Payne, Frances Purgerson, Sarah Sprecher, Abigail Whitam, Cooper Willis, Ellen Thiery, Meredith Taliaferro, Carmen Wilkison, Haleigh Windstein, Caroline Wilcox, Dailynne Voorhies; Pages — Christina Bruno, Emma Grace Landry, Carleigh Helouin, Victoria Sharp, Hannah Cook, Major Matassa, Katherine Palmintier, Ashley Weems; Spanish (Chocolate) — Laura Catalanello, Hannah Gale, Emelia Perkins, Eryn Short; Arabian (Coffee) — Caroline Schulenberg, Laura Catalanello, Le’Brian Patrick; Chinese (Tea) — Katie Rose DeLeo, Chandler Beaman, Madison Dillenberger, Delaney Dufrene, Brittany Nettles, Elizabeth Talbot; Russian (Trepak) — Delia Ardoin, Leah Courter, Neil Courter, Annie Fink; Marzipan — Hannah Gale, Delaney Dufrene, Eryn Short, Emelia Perkins, Elizabeth Talbot, Brittany Nettles; Lambs — Lily Bacas, Ava Barnett, Natalie Carline, Abigail Bourgeois, Maddie Caire, Hannah Froedge, Jillian Clements, Grace Ciesielski, Ella Chapman, Jenna Lee, Mary Elise Farnet, Helen Crouse, Sophia Gonzaga, Kymani Lewis, Abigail Grier, Anna Guidroz, Angel Holmes, Jennifer Lin, Margaret Johnson, Shelby Irwin, Hannah Jung, Megan Marino, India Kirkland, Ivy Jiang, Lily LaBorde, Lainey McGee, Lilly Manson, Rachel Kennedy, Mary Ellen Longmire, Hailey Parker, Mackenzie Morel, Gabrielle LeBlanc, Evan MacMorran, Jazelle Reimonenq, Caroline Roberts, Mary Hill Savoy, Lily Mills, Annabelle Sheets, Grace Rutledge, Zoe Scarton, Mary Grace Talbot, Micah Sherman, Olivia Van Hook, Camille Stone, Harlee Watts, Hannah Vaughan, Morgan Wash, Emily Vennen; Mother Ginger — Jonna Cox, Elizabeth Mathews; Bonbons — Charlotte Balart, Morgan Gallegos, Catherine Bonaventure, Katherine Collins, Hayley Gregoire, Maile Braden, Morgan Gallegos, Chloe Higgins, Catherine Carline, Jordan Brignac, Hayley Gregoire, Anna Pousson, Celia Fishbein, Catherine Carline, Cristina Riazuelo, Benton Jones, Celia Fishbein, Elise Saloom, Riley Richard, Molly Glenn, Katherine Scott, Ryan Whaley, Cindy Xu, Adrienne Simmons, Estelle Yeargain; Azalea Fairy — Meredith Broussard; Flowers — Emma Camille Barbin, Chandler Beaman, Claire Broyles, Katie Rose DeLeo, Estelle Crawford, Madison Dillenberger, Delaney Dufrene, Delaney Dufrene, Madeline Ford, Claire Gregoire, Hannah Gale, Mary Beth Maddox, Caroline Schulenberg, Brittany Nettles, Eryn Short, Emelia Perkins, Elizabeth Talbot; Sugar Plum Fairy and Her Cavalier — Alison Stroming and Carlos Lopez.