South Bay Ballet’s The Nutcracker Pirouettes Into Its 10th Season

South Bay Ballet's version of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker, will hit the Marsee Auditorium for three shows December 20, 21 and 22.

Torrance, CA, November 03, 2013 --( This year marks the 10th anniversary of South Bay Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker – one of the best things to do in the Southland for the holidays. Dancers who started out as tiny mice in early productions have graduated to bigger roles of the full-length seasonal classic, which shows December 20, 21 and 22 at El Camino College Center for the Arts, Marsee Auditorium.

Mayu Odaka, 16, of Redondo Beach, has danced in every performance of South Bay Ballet’s version of the holiday ballet for the past ten years. This year she takes on the principal role of Dream Clara, which is unique to South Bay Ballet’s rendition where Grandmother Clara tells the story of a young girl on Christmas Eve, whose dream of becoming a ballerina takes her on exciting adventures with her Nutcracker Prince meeting many enchanting characters in the land of ice and snow and the kingdom of the sweets.

Odaka first saw The Nutcracker performed by American Ballet Theatre as a toddler, when she became entranced by the art form. “I began taking ballet lessons at Lauridsen Ballet Centre when I was four years old,” she recalls. “My very first role with South Bay Ballet was a Gingersnap in Toyshop, a holiday ballet that came before The Nutcracker.”

“Each year, I look forward to the production,” says Odaka. “It never does get old. The roles are very challenging to learn. Your body gets physically tired, but I don't think I'll ever get tired of Nutcracker. I enjoy performing on stage and making the audience so happy that they remember the ballet long after it is over."

Artistic director Diane Lauridsen adds that, "South Bay Ballet’s Nutcracker is different because of the special twist to the traditional story with Clara transitioning from Grandmother Clara to Little Clara to Dream Clara, and back again. It’s all part of the fantasy – the dream.”

This year's production has 119 members in the ensemble – with just a few of the principals dancing only one role throughout the three performances. The rest of the cast, including guest appearances by South Bay Ballet alumni Tracy Jones, Elizabeth Simoens and Ty Molbak, is often double and even triple cast in various supporting roles and cameo parts.

Lauridsen has personally trained the dancers in the company, and has molded many of them into top-level, professional dancers. “I believe that Southland audiences are blown away each year with the breadth and scope of what we've been able to do here,” she says. “We present a professional quality theatre experience for everyone.”

The 10th anniversary of The Nutcracker opens at 7 p.m. Friday, December 20 continuing at 2 p.m. Saturday, December 21, with the ballet’s closing performance at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 22. For tickets, call the Marsee Auditorium box office at 310.329.5345 or visit Adults $30; children 12 and under $20; premium seating $50.

The non-profit’s annual Nutcracker Dinner & Silent Auction will take place at the Buffalo Fire Department in Torrance with live entertainment, spirits and a three-course sit- down dinner on Sunday, December 22 at 6 p.m. For information and tickets, visit or phone 310.831.6363. Adults $75; children 10 and under $35.

About South Bay Ballet:
South Bay Ballet, a non-profit organization, provides quality artistic performances to the community as well as outstanding training to young and pre-professional dancers. Under the guidance of Artistic Director Diane Lauridsen, and Assistant Artistic Director Elijah Pressman, the Company’s mission as a nationally distinguished pre-professional ballet company is to change lives by providing the finest in training to our youth and performances that inspire and enrich our community.
South Bay Ballet
Lisa Silagy, Publicity