Captivating Performances: The Nutcracker Shines at Pearl River

Published 5:43 pm Thursday, December 7, 2023

By Laura O’Neill

Community members attending The Nutcracker by South Mississippi Ballet Theatre were treated to a splendid dose of holiday wonder, igniting their Christmas joy. The series of performances marked the milestone of a decade gracing The Brownstone Center for the Arts on Pearl River Community College’s Poplarville Campus.

Since its emergence in the late 1960s, The Nutcracker has entrenched itself as a cherished holiday tradition, particularly embraced in North America. The fusion of Tchaikovsky’s stirring musical arrangements, resplendent costumes, and graceful choreography concocts an enchanting ambiance that enthralls audiences. The theater reverberated with applause for remarkable leaps and spins, mingled with genuine appreciation for the youngest stars gracing the stage.

Each of the weekend’s three ballet performances carried its distinct flair as various dancers alternated roles. The ensemble comprised individuals of diverse ages, predominantly featuring local talent from across southern Mississippi.

Guest artists included Max Berg (Las Vegas, NV), dancing the role of the Nutcracker Prince, and Yuval Cohen (Israel) performing as the Cavalier.

The performances drew a crowd from across south Mississippi. For many, it marked a cherished holiday tradition; for others, it was an opportunity to cheer on their loved ones performing on stage. Among the audience, newcomers like Amanda Burge of Poplarville and family members were experiencing The Nutcracker for the very first time.

“We absolutely loved it and had a wonderful time,” said Burge. “The costumes were beautiful. We plan to make this a new holiday tradition and come back next year.”

South Mississippi Ballet Theatre (SMBT)

Based in Hattiesburg, SMBT was founded by Arkadiy and Katya Orohovsky in 2010 to offer a pre-professional ballet curriculum and bring the art of classical ballet to the area. Their goal is “to educate both children and adults about the training, culture, and history of classical ballet while offering them a chance to pursue the art in whatever capacity they choose.”

Learn more about SMBT at

The spring semester has several performances scheduled. Ticket sales are currently open for .

David Phelps — Jan. 23 at 7 p.m.
Spring Variety Show — Feb. 29 at 7 p.m.
Grease — April 11 & 12 at 7 p.m. and April 13 at 2 p.m.
Broadway to Brownstone — April 16 at 7 p.m.
Spring Pops featuring the JazzCats, The Voices, Currents & Rapids — April 23 at 7 p.m.

Purchase your tickets at

Photos from Saturday, December 2, 2023, 2 p.m. show.
Photos from Sunday, December 3, 2023 show.

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Photography by Rudy Melancon and Laura O’Neill.