Indiana Ballet Conservatory’s “The Nutcracker” to feature Boston Ballet dancer Lasha Khozashvili


By Mark Ambrogi

The second time around as Sugar Plum Fairy will be even sweeter for Olivia Behrmann in the Indiana Ballet Conservatory’s production of “The Nutcracker.”

The thing that makes it more special is this time she gets to dance with Lasha Khozashvili, acclaimed dancer with Boston Ballet.

“I’m excited,” said Behrmann, who said she should get three or four days before the shows to prepare with Khozashvili.

The IBC will have six performances rom Dec. 10-13 at Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Behrmann, a 17-year-old from Indianapolis who takes high school classes online so she has time for her ballet, said she should benefit from her return role as Sugar Plum Fairy.

“Now I know what to expect,” said Behrman, who danced with a fellow IBC student last year. “I can watch my performance and know what I should fix or work on.”

Khozashvili will be dancing in the role of the Prince, alongside three IBC Professional Training Program students in the dual role of Princess Masha and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Along with Behrmann, Julia Rust and Rachel Schultz will play the dual role and dance with Khozaskvili.

IBC founding artistic director Aloyona Yakovleva-Randall said it’s a great opportunity for Behrmann and other girls to dance with Khozaskvili.

“She is going to dance with one of the most talented male dancers in the world, according to Dance Magazine,” Yakovelva-Randall said. “He’s the principal dancer with Boston Ballet. To get that experience with a dancer like that, it’s another level of education.”

This will be Khozashvili’s fifth appearance in IBC’s sixth annual “The Nutcracker.”

“He really enjoys this production,” Yakovleva-Randall said. “He trusts us.”

Last year was the first time Khozashvili danced with one of IBC students.

“Before he danced with a professional guest dancer,” Yakovleva-Randall said.

Yakovleva-Randall based this on 1934 choreography of Vasily Vainonen. Yakovleva-Randall said this is closest to the original version that debut in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1892.

“They (cast members) love it, it’s very sweet,” Yakovleva-Randall said. “It’s about a girl who had a really good heart. She opens her heart to little ugly Nutcracker doll because no one wants to play with it but her. Because of her kindness, the Nutcracker becomes a handsome prince. He invites her to his world where everything is sweet and where all children’s dreams come true. It’s a story of being kind to each other. It’s because of who you are miracles are going to happen. It’s a great tradition of Christmas.

“I love to see the progression to see the evolution of the students in the roles (through the years). They develop as professional dancers.”

Wilmara Manuel, IBC interim executive director, said families love the traditional version.

“It’s an opportunity to see a full-scaled original version with full costumes and different backdrops,” Manuel said. “There are a lot of amazing props including a live Goldendoodle, who is part of the show.”

When: Dec. 10-13.

What: Indiana Ballet Conservatory’s “The Nutcracker.”

Where: Indianapolis Museum of Art, 4000 Michigan Rd., Indianapolis.

Performances: 7 p.m. on Dec. 10-11, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on 12-13.

Tickets: Prices range from $20 to $30, visit

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