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Nora Aminlari, 11, will play Clara in one of three performances of "The Nutcracker."
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Encinitas Ballet returns with ‘The Nutcracker’ tradition

ENCINITAS — Encinitas Ballet Academy is set to bring the Christmas dreamscape imagery of “The Nutcracker” to life through 3D animation and other multimedia effects paired with the talent of world-renowned dancers who star in the classical ballet.

Encinitas Ballet has performed Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet as a holiday tradition for the last 15 years. This particular production of “The Nutcracker” is unlike other performances of the ballet because of how its 3D, multimedia effects work alongside the hand-painted sets and high-quality costumes that transform the stage into a magical wonderland.

Sayat and Olga Asatryan, choreography teachers and artistic directors of Encinitas Ballet, will direct the ballet staring highly trained and professional dancers from San Francisco Ballet, National Ballet of Armenia and City Ballet of San Diego in addition to Encinitas Ballet’s own dancers.

For three young ballerinas, their dream to play the role of Clara in “The Nutcracker” has come true.

Valentina Burgon, 12, has been dancing with Encinitas Ballet since she was 7 years old. She will play Clara in the Friday, Dec. 9 performance at 2 p.m. at The Grand Ritz Theatre in Escondido alongside her younger sister Charlise, who will play Clara’s mischievous brother, Fritz. The girls’ father, Paul Burgon, will also perform with them.

Ajuni Chowdhuri, 10, has been dancing with Encinitas Ballet since she was 5 years old. Like the Burgons, Ajuni will play Clara alongside her younger sister, Sachi, as Fritz at the Encinitas Community Center on Dec. 16 at 1 p.m.

Nora Aminlari, 11, will also play Clara with her younger sister, Rose, as Fritz at the Encinitas Community Center on Dec. 16 at 5 p.m.

Encinitas Ballet’s rising stars Gabrielle Fish and Ariel Asatryan will dance as the Sugar Plum Fairy role, meanwhile Xara Grosman-Brown and Alyssa Larner will dance in “Snow Pas de Deux” – arguably one of the most popular dances in the ballet – alongside Grigor Zakyan, the principal dancer for the National Ballet of Armenia plus gold medalist and winner of the Varna Ballet Competition.

Zakyan will perform as Cavalier on Dec. 16, sharing his role with San Francisco Ballet rising star, Jacob Seltzer, who will perform on Dec. 9.

Ukrainian Bandurist musician Valentine Lysenko is in charge of music on Dec. 16.

Tickets for the Nutcracker are available online at For more information, call 760-632-4947. Big group discounts are available.

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