Pearl River hosts The Nutcracker, a holiday spirit-boosting tradition

December 6, 2022

Community members attending The Nutcracker by South Mississippi Ballet Theatre were given a dose of holiday magic to raise their Christmas spirit. The three performances marked the ninth year they have danced at The Brownstone Center for the Arts on the Poplarville Campus of Pearl River Community College.  

Girl in white dress with blue sash dances on stage with adults in the background.
Berkley Zumwalt performs as Clara in The Nutcracker at PRCC on Dec 3 2022

Since the late 1960s, attending The Nutcracker has become a holiday tradition for people worldwide, especially in North America. The blend of Tchaikovsky’s musical score, vibrant costumes, and ethereal choreography creates a magical environment that delights audiences. Throughout the ballet, you could hear enthusiastic applause for incredible jumps and spins coupled with sounds of appreciation for the youngest talent on the stage. 

Each of the three ballet performances held throughout the weekend was unique as some roles were alternated between different dancers. The cast included individuals of various ages with most of the supporting roles filled by local talent from across south Mississippi. Guest artists included Max Berg (Las Vegas, NV), dancing the roles of the Nutcracker Prince and the Russian, and Khen Kurulkar (Israel) performing as the Cavalier.   

Teenaged boy performs a jumping split as the Nutcracker.
Max Berg performs at the Nutcracker at PRCC on Dec 3 2022

People from around south Mississippi came to the performances. For some, it is a holiday tradition, for others, it was to support a family member in the cast. Eddie Jones came with his family to see his daughter perform as a baby mouse and baker. 

“I thought the performance was phenomenal,” said Jones. “It showed a lot of discipline, a lot of rehearsal time, and a lot of dedication. I lived in New York City and have seen The Nutcracker in Manhattan. This performance wasn’t quite the same, but it shows what great talent we have down here in south Mississippi.” 

Teenaged girl dressed in blue tutu and tiara does a jumping split.
Peyton Cocroft as the Dewdrop Fairy in The Nutcracker at PRCC on Dec 3 2022

South Mississippi Ballet Theater (SMBT)

Based in Hattiesburg, SMBT was founded by Arkadiy and Katya Orohovsky in 2010 to offer a pre-professional ballet curriculum and bring the art of classical ballet to the area. Their goal is “to educate both children and adults about the training, culture, and history of classical ballet while offering them a chance to pursue the art in whatever capacity they choose.”  

Learn more about SMBT at

Upcoming Events at the Brownstone

The spring semester has several performances scheduled. Ticket sales are currently open for Mississippi Aca-Fest and the Spring Variety Show.  

Mississippi Aca-Fest — Jan. 13 at 6 p.m.  
Spring Variety Show — Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.  
The Isaacs — Mar. 7 at 7 p.m.  
12 Angry Jurors — Mar. 30 & 31 at 7 p.m.  
Broadway to Brownstone — April 13 at 7 p.m.  
JazzCats & The Voices — April 20 at 7 p.m.  

Purchase your tickets at 

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Article by Laura O’Neill
Photography by Jolie Pervel

Each community college president is asked to bring two (2) wrapped door prizes, minimum value of $50 each. We will have a station set up at the conference for you to drop off the door prizes.

Each community college is asked to provide name tags for their Board members, administration, and staff attending the conference.