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Nutcracker Spotlight: Barry Kerollis
By Rosie Gaynor
Posted December 5, 2008

Pacific Northwest Ballet dancer Barry Kerollis (Photo Angela Sterling)

     On its 25th anniversary, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker is still fresh, still magical. 

     While the ballet easily stands up to repeated viewings, any review I could write about it would show signs of wear and tear. (Nutcracker 2008 in a nutshell? Just like past years: Charming, neatly danced, great jumps, good acting, funny moments, what’s up with the choreography of the Sugar Plum Fairy music, my goodness those little kids are good, I love the Sendak sets and costumes, I like so-and-so in this role better, etc.) Instead, let me share a questionnaire filled out by one of the 250+ folks appearing in this year’s Nutcracker.

Name: Barry Kerollis 

First Nutcracker Performed In: Chester Valley Dance Academy, in Chester County, PA 

Age Back Then: 7 years old 

Role Back Then: Soldier in the battle scene [Kerollis plays 10 or so roles in PNB’s Nutcracker, including the Nutcracker and the Warrior Mouse.] 

Nutcracker Performances Danced in Since Then: I honestly have no idea. My best guess is no less than 250. 

A Favorite Nutcracker Moment: My favorite Nutcracker moment was when I performed with The Russian Ballet Theatre of Delaware. I was the Nutcracker in the fight scene. The Mouse King and I had these really flashy swords that made a fun clanging noise when they clashed. Apparently, they weren't strong enough for what the choreography demanded. A little more than halfway through the battle, we hit swords and mine broke about three quarters of the way down. I had to fight off the Mouse King for the remainder of the scene with a small dagger. It was pretty funny—and I still won. 

One Funny Nutcracker Memory: One of the funniest memories I have of Nutcracker was when I danced the Prince at my local dance studio in Pennsylvania. One of the angels at the beginning of the second act had fallen over. The costumes were too overwhelming, with hula-hoops at the base, and the young child could not get up. She rolled onstage for about two minutes before my Sugar Plum Fairy made her entrance and gracefully helped the kid back on her feet. 

Nutcracker Tidbits to Share: Since we perform so many Nutcrackers throughout the season, we often create our own stories onstage to keep from getting too bored. We do this especially during the party scene when we are just standing around. I have pretended that I have had a bit too much to drink, that I am rich and think my family is better than the Stahlbaums, that I’m much more interested in another party mother than my own wife, and many more scenarios. We have to keep it interesting and, amusingly enough, we tend to play off of others’ little games to keep it exciting, even if we don’t know what their story of that show is. 

Nutcracker and Soldier: Two of the many roles Barry Kerollis has danced over the years. Kerollis dances 10 or so different parts in PNB’s current production. (Shown above: Benjamin Griffiths as the Nutcracker, with PNB Company dancers and PNB School students. Photo Angela Sterling.)

PNB’s Nutcracker runs through December 30. Tickets range $24 to $130 (206-441-2424 or  

Special Guest Appearances, During the Party Scene in Act I:

November 30, 1:00 pm, Stephen Kilbreath, member of the KMPS Waking Crew (formerly with KJR and KUBE)





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