Young local dancers appear with The Joffrey Ballet in "The Nutcracker" this month. Back row, from left: Maeve Harvey-Camillone (Evanston), Claire Slivka (Wilmette), Mary Slowinski (Evanston), Charlotte Frondren (Willmette), Lauren Sullivan (Glenview), Eva Delariman (Evanston) and Emiko Von Horn (Skokie). Front row: Sara Eshoo (Glenview), Mia Rehwaldt (Evanston), Miles King (Evanston), Sophie King (Evanston) and Mikaela Parisien (Evanston.Photo by Bob Nick

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Several young Evanston dancers are appearing with The Joffrey Ballet as it celebrates the 25th anniversary of Robert Joffrey’s “The Nutcracker” through Dec. 27 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago.

The curtains rose on The Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 10, 1987, in the Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa. The production then embarked on a national tour, and the American Nutcracker was born.  When Robert Joffrey choreographed “The Nutcracker,” he replaced the traditional European setting with a 19th-century American home, populating it with toys from his own childhood underneath the Christmas tree of the Stahlbaum Family. 

After a lively party on Christmas Eve, familiar characters Clara and the mysterious Dr. Drosselmeyer embark on a magical adventure. They encounter a battle between toy soldiers and legions of mice, and Clara unexpectedly saves the day. Then the Queen and King of Snow transport them and the Nutcracker Prince to an enchanted forest, where they are delighted by dancing confections produced by the Sugar Plum Fairy.