Bristol Ballet

Bristol Ballet Co. Presents ”The Nutcracker”
Paramount Bristol and Southwest Virginia Community College

The Bristol Ballet, now in its 74th season, cordially invites you and your family to celebrate a beloved family holiday tradition by attending the company’s performance of “The Nutcracker” in Historic Downtown Bristol and Richlands, Virginia this December. Bristol Ballet’s interpretation of this timeless classic takes place at 7 p.m. EST, Dec. 3, in the Charles R. King Community Center at Southwest Virginia Community College (SWVCC) and will return to the Paramount Bristol stage for three performances; Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. EST, and Dec. 10 at 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. EST.

In partnership with the Sullivan County Animal Shelter, Saturday’s noon performance is affectionately referred to as “The Pupcracker,” as it will include a pet adoption event in the lobby of the Paramount. A few furry friends will also take part in the party scene for Paramount performances.

“We are very excited to be expanding our outreach into rural Southwest Virginia through a new partnership with Southwest Virginia Community College,” said Bristol Ballet’s Artistic and Development Director in charge of producing “The Nutcracker.” “We hope to bring the magic of this wonderful tradition to families who may not have had the opportunity to see it live in their communities in the past.”

The Bristol Ballet interpretation of the Tchaikovsky classic Christmas story tips a hat to our region’s Appalachian music history and the 1927 Bristol Sessions with Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters standing in for Mother Ginger and the Polichinelles.

Experience the wonder of Clara’s adventure as she helps break the spell of the evil Rat Queen and goes on a journey through the land of Snow and onward to the Land of Sweets. Principal dancers Erin Ginn and Jace Coronado reprise their roles as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier.

Ginn, a Kingsport, Tenn. native who now resides in New York City, teaches Classical Ballet and is a certified Pilates Instructor. She began her ballet training at a young age under Karen Gibbons-Brown and attended the Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts, receiving Honors for Outstanding Achievement in Ballet. She began her professional career as an apprentice with the Cincinnati Ballet and graduated with High Distinction from Indiana University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance. She has danced nationally and internationally with a number of ballet companies across the country.

Coronado also resides in New York and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Vocal Performance from West Texas A&M and studied at the School of American Ballet. He has appeared in a number of productions on Broadway including West Side Story, Disney’s Alladin, Guys and Dolls, and an American in Paris. He also works as a Master Teacher and Choreographer for various schools and companies in the New England area.

For our Paramount production, Guest artists Olivia Ratliff, a dance instructor at Bristol Ballet and SWVCC, and Norbert Nirewicz take the spotlight during Snow and Arabian scenes. Nirewicz is a native of Poland and has been working as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer across the United States, Japan, Latin America, and Europe. Ratliff holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance from Radford University, a Master’s in Elementary Educations from King University, and obtained her Master of Fine Arts degree in Choreography from Wilson College this year.

Michael Locke, an educator and coach at Sullivan East High School, returns to “The Nutcracker” as Herr Drosselmeyer.  Eran Castonguay, a student of dance at SWVCC who also performs with the Olina Dance Collective, is cast in the role of Nutcracker. Castonguay will also perform the roles of Snow Cavalier and Arabian pas de deux for the Southwest Virginia Community College show.

Bristol Ballet senior company dancer Virginia Stockner, a homeschooled high school junior who also takes classes at Virginia Highlands Community College as a freshman, performs the Rat Queen, chasing fellow junior company member Callalisa Baker, who plays Clara. Baker is in the 8th grade at Tennessee Middle School.

Bristol Ballet underwent a change in leadership in July of this year when longtime Artistic Director Michele Plescia announced her retirement after 18 years with the company. Plescia had studied ballet under the company’s founder, the late Constance Hardinge.

“We are honored to have Artistic Director Emeritus Michele Plescia join us as a cast member in ‘The Nutcracker’ this year,” said Bristol Ballet’s new Artistic and School of Ballet Director, Moira Frazier Ostrander, who served under Plescia as the company’s managing director. “She has also stayed on to teach a couple of classes and still serves as a great mentor and role model to all of us Bristol Ballet.”

For tickets and more information about Bristol Ballet visit

About Bristol Ballet Co.

Established in 1948 by the late Constance Hardinge, Bristol Ballet’s mission is to educate students and the general public about dance as an art form through exceptional ballet training for youth and through productions for the public. Through its long history, the organization has served tens of thousands of young dancers and audience members.

In 2018 the Virginia Commission for the Arts, during its 50th anniversary celebrations, recognized Bristol Ballet as a Bedrock Institution for its more than 70-year history of providing quality dance education and entertainment.