The Nutcracker returning to PHS

The Alabama Youth Ballet Company will bring The Nutcracker to Pelham High School for the eighth straight year in early December. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

While many are making their final preparations for the Thanksgiving holiday, a group of kids and their instructors have already been preparing to celebrate the Christmas season for months.

For the eighth straight year, The Alabama Youth Ballet Company, which is based at Pelham’s Grebel Dance Center, will present The Nutcracker in Pelham High School’s auditorium.

“They’ve been practicing very hard at least four or five days a week since September. They’re so excited about it,” said Alabama Youth Ballet Chairperson Deborah Grebel. “We want to absolutely fill every show this year.”

The performances will be at PHS on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., and on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general reserved seating, $15 for orchestra section reserved seating, $5 for children’s general reserved seating and $10 for children’s orchestra section reserved seating.

All seats are reserved for all three shows, and discounts will be available for senior citizens, educator groups and members of the military.

Through a partnership with the city of Pelham, students in Pelham schools will be admitted free with a voucher during the Saturday shows. Grebel said she is working to provide vouchers to the Pelham schools, but said free Pelham student vouchers will also be available at Grebel Dance, which is at 102 Commerce Parkway in Pelham.

Students who do not attend Pelham schools will be admitted for half price during the Saturday shows.

The performances are put on by a cast of 60 members of the Alabama Youth Ballet Company, professional guest artists and a community cast. This year’s show will feature loads of new talent, as many of the production’s senior performers graduated last year, Grebel said.

“There will be a lot of young ones coming up this year,” Grebel said.

While holding auditions for the show, Grebel said the center saw an influx of performers from across the Birmingham metropolitan area.

“Every year we have more and more kids come to audition. We enjoy getting to meet new people,” Grebel said.

Every year, the Ballet Company recruits a well-known Pelham male to serve as Mother Ginger during the performances. Grebel said the company has not yet announced this year’s Mother Ginger.

“It’s still a secret. We have a Mother Ginger club on Facebook and we’ve been posting clues,” Grebel said.

Past Mother Gingers include former Pelham Mayor Bobby Hayes, Fire Chief Danny Ray and Parks and Recreation Director Billy Crandall.