SUMMIT, NJ - Eighteen students from Summit -- Annelise Claus, Farrah Claus, Sutton Girr, Donald Grennon, Talia Kooch, Grace Leoni, Ben Levkov, Eden Levkov, Gabriella Meza, Allison Miller, Kelly Wang Nie, Kate Petrella, Valerie Rios, Jenna Shulman, Alina Slotwinski, Julia Speer, Charlotte Wesson, and Charlotte Zann -- will join a group of acclaimed professional guest artists in the full-length production of New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble’s (NJDTE) “The Nutcracker," December 9 - 10 at the Memorial Auditorium at Montclair State University.

The students range in age from elementary through high school.

A cadre of international dance artists, including Princess Grace Award recipient Lyvan Esteban Verdicia of Ballet Hispanico as Father/Russian/Arabian, and Marie-Lorène Fichaux, formerly of Paris Opera Ballet and currently with the Lyon Opera Ballet dancing the classic role of Sugar Plum Fairy, will join the Ensemble for the three performances. Mikhail Ilyin, formerly of Miami City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, will appear as her Cavalier. Also joining the cast are celebrated dancers Christopher Bloom of Ballet Hispanico in the role of Drosselmeyer/Mother Gigone and, as the Grandmother, former New Jersey Ballet prima ballerina Rosemary Sabovick-Bleich

Sign Up for E-News

Donald Grennon, NJDTE Ensemble Member and eighth grader at Lawton C. Johnson Middle School -- who is performing the Soloist Roles of Mouse King and Lead Chinese -- says that, “Being in The Nutcracker provides you with a terrific feeling of camaraderie with other cast members, and a tremendous sense of accomplishment as you see all of your hard work paying off in the final rehearsals. I am super excited about The Nutcracker, because I’ve never prepared as much for a role as I have for the Mouse King.”

The Memorial Auditorium at Montclair State University is located at 1 Normal Avenue. Performances are December 9, at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and December 10, at 2 p.m.