Santa Barbara has proved itself as a world-class venue for the arts, but any town can import talent. This past weekend, the city got a chance to see its domestic artistic accomplishments as two preprofessional ballet companies put on their annual Christmas spectacles.
The Montecito School of Ballet is a small operation run by mother and daughter Carla and Delilah Mosely. Their year-end performance began with Les Patineurs (“the skaters,” in French), set to a score by Giacamo Meyerbeer. Darting past the live Christmas trees on stage, 15 dancers mimicked ice skating maneuvers, holding each other by the waist and gliding around the stage as if we were at Rockefeller Center. Partnering between Kelsey O’Hara and Thomas McDonnell was particularly impressive.
The second act was The Night Before Christmas, with recorded readings of excerpts from Clement Moore’s story preceding each scene. The plot played out much like The Nutcracker, beginning with a party scene and continuing with toys coming to life in the family living room after everyone has gone to bed. Three graduates of the school returned to give standout performances: Kelsey O’Hara as a cherry candy, Samantha Nielsen as Sugarplum, and Hanna Walker who danced Sugarplum and Moonbeam in the second act as well.