Friends University to present a fresh, unique “Nutcracker”

Wichita, Kan.¬—The Friends University Ballet Department will present a new full-length production of “The Nutcracker.” Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7-8 and Dec. 14-15, and at 2 p.m. Dec. 9 and Dec. 15.

This production of “The Nutcracker” will be unique in comparison to previous years. Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre, the newly-hired director of the ballet-centered dance program at Friends, will choreograph the work. The music will be The Duke Ellington Orchestra’s classic 1960 recording of Billy Strayhorn’s Nutcracker Suite, supplemented with selections from David Berger’s “Harlem Nutcracker” (1996).

“The Ellington Nutcracker will add diversity to the options for audiences and participants for the holiday season, celebrating the elegant American tradition of jazz, with its roots in the fusion of European and African musical elements,” Vazquez-Aguirre said.

Friends students and other dancers from the community will share the stage with four guest performers, chosen for their extraordinary artistry. The first weekend of performances, Dec. 7-9, will feature Jermey Edmonson and Nanako Horikawa, freelance dancers in New Mexico and New York. Dandara Amorim Veiga and Lyvan Verdecia from Ballet Hispanico in New York City will share their magic for the second weekend of performances, Dec. 14-15.

“The guest artists performing with us this year will not only share their exquisite and unique talent, but they will also teach free community classes and share studio and rehearsal time with our dance majors,” Vazquez-Aguirre said.

Tickets sell out each year, so those who wish to attend should purchase their tickets early. Ticket prices are $16 for adults and $13 for students and seniors (60+).

The performance will take place in Sebits Auditorium in Riney Fine Arts Center on the Friends University campus at 2100 W. University Ave., Wichita, Kan.

For more information on this event or other Fine Arts events, please contact the Fine Arts Box Office at 316-295-5677 or

Friends University, a Christian University of Quaker heritage, equips students to honor God and serve others by integrating their intellectual, spiritual and professional lives.