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Gracie Moffitt looks forward to world premiere of production on Thanksgiving weekend

Gracie Moffitt of Happy Valley will perform in The Portland Ballet's world premiere of John Clifford's "A Christmas Carol: The Ballet" on Thanksgiving weekend.COURTESY PHOTO: BLAINE TRUITT COVERT - Happy Valley's Gracie Moffitt rehearses for 'A Christmas Carol: The Ballet,' which will be performed without masks on Thanksgiving weekend.

A student at Clackamas Community College studying early learning, Moffitt trains in the TPB company's Career Track program for pre-professionals. Previously performing in "The Nutcracker," she has been studying ballet for 12 years and has also trained at Oregon Ballet Theatre and the School of Philadelphia Ballet.COURTESY PHOTO: BLAINE TRUITT COVERT - Michael Jurica stars as Ebenezer Scrooge in The Portland Ballet's world premiere of 'A Christmas Carol: The Ballet.'

Moffitt said she "couldn't be more excited" for the upcoming performances of "A Christmas Carol."

"It's always a joy to perform on stage, especially not having been able to these last two years, and having the opportunity to learn new choreography," she said. "The music and overall aesthetic of the show puts you in the real Christmas spirit. I know that I and the rest of TPB can't wait to perform."

The Portland Ballet production will put a fresh spin on Charles Dickens' familiar tale of Ebenezer Scrooge with new choreography, an original score by Karl Moraski and new scenic designs by Kim Morris. TPB founders Nancy Davis and Jim Lane decided to return to live performances by going big and commissioning a whole new ballet.

Clifford, a company artistic adviser, is best known as founder and artistic director of the original Los Angeles Ballet, and a principal dancer and choreographer with New York City Ballet. He is widely considered to be George Balanchine's choreographic protege and has just published the highly anticipated memoir "Balanchine's Apprentice: From Hollywood to New York and Back."

"For my new ballet, for the holidays, and as an alternative to the endless Nutcrackers, I wanted to do something fresh, but at the same time familiar and easy to understand," Clifford said. "Most families know the tale of the miserly Scrooge, and how he was transformed from the meanest man in London, to the kindest. It's a morality tale that children, as well as adults, love the world over.

"In my version, I emphasize the love that permeates this story by Charles Dickens, and it is not as dark and scary as the original book or the various filmed and TV versions. We show why Scrooge has turned so sour, so that we actually understand him better and forgive him his flaws."

The Portland Ballet has been mounting its biggest production of the year on Thanksgiving weekend since 2003. The cast of about 30 dancers will include four guest artists. Moffitt will be featured in a Pas de Six, which showcases the advanced dancers. 

'A Christmas Carol: The Ballet'

When: 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 27-28

Where: Lincoln Performance Hall at Portland State University, 1620 S.W. Park Ave., Portland

Tickets: Start at $15 and will be limited to allow for social distancing

Runtime: 50 minutes with no intermission

More: theportlandballet.org or 503-452-8448; audience members will be required to wear masks and show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours.


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