With Christmas more than two weeks away, sugar plums might not yet be dancing in your head, but the Sugar Plum Fairy is about to take the stage again at the Roanoke Civic Center.
Two Sugar Plum Fairies, in fact.
Salem company Southwest Virginia Ballet has kept the traditional holiday ballet “The Nutcracker” full of tiny mice and en pointe sweets for 17 years at the civic center, but this is the first time since artistic director Pedro Szalay took over the company in 2006 that two dancers have been cast in the plum role.
Patrick Henry High School senior Meredith Kelderhouse, 17, and Cave Spring High School senior Caitlyn King, 18, will alternate in the role. Meredith will perform at a Friday show for regional schools, then Saturday afternoon at the civic center. Caitlyn dances Saturday evening and Sunday.
The Sugar Plum Fairy is the ballet’s most demanding role, and Szalay said that though he usually prefers to have a single dancer backed up by an understudy in the part, this year he decided to “share the profit.” The fairy, the Queen of the Land of Sweets, dances both solo and in a pas de deux with the Cavalier.
Kelderhouse, daughter of SVB executive director Nancy Kelderhouse, danced the part last year, and did a great job, Szalay said. King, who was just offered an apprenticeship with the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida in Miami, also deserved a chance to shine, he said.