The Nutcracker visits Pearl River for the holidays

POPLARVILLE, Miss. – If Poplarville felt a little more magical this weekend it was probably the sugarplum fairies and nutcrackers dancing across the stage of Pearl River Community College’s Ethel Holden Brownstone Center. Saturday and Sunday the South Mississippi Ballet Theatre put on a spirited performance of The Nutcracker to the delight of all in attendance.  

Talented dancers glided their way across the snow-covered stage and into the hearts of audience members as they told the story of The Nutcracker. Performers as young as 3-years-old scurried between legs and spinning tutus. Claps and gasps from the audience punctuated each act.  

During the intermission one family shared their excitement about the show. 

“We will be back,” Katherine Dedeaux of Poplarville said of making this performance part of their holiday traditions. “This is the first time that we have taken our daughter to the see the Nutcracker and she is loving it.”

Just then Kaitlyn Dedeaux, 6, reminded her mom of the time: “Sorry, we can’t stay because we don’t want to miss anything.” 

South Mississippi Ballet Theatre 

According to the SMBT’s mission statement, the Hattiesburg based theatre is dedicated to bringing the highest level of classical ballet training to the Hattiesburg area. It’s goal is to educate both children and adults about the training culture and history of classical ballet while giving them a chance to pursue the art in whatever capacity they choose. 


The older dancers in the theatre are pre-professionally trained for between 18 and 25 hours a week including five days a week after school. Even the youngest among the performers train two to three days a week and give up their weekends for rehearsals in preparation for the shows. 

“It’s a time commitment from the families to make sure they get them there,” Artistic Director for the SMBT Katya Orohovsky said. “From the kids, they really work two and a half months nonstop and they are really proud of what they do.” 

Ethel Holden Brownstone Center for the Arts 

The theatre company has been performing this show since the Brownstone Center’s beginning and they continue to enjoy the trip to Poplarville each year. 

“This theatre is absolutely a dream,” Orohovsky said. “When they started building it we were asked to come perform. We were expecting just a normal college auditorium and we came in and were just blown away.

“Performing here is the easiest performance we do. Everything is so streamlined and the guys that work backstage are just phenomenal and very willing to adjust. They are very accommodating and very sweet to the kids. We love it here.” 

Looking Ahead 

The Brownstone Center will continue its performance schedule into the spring starting with Street Corner Symphony on Jan. 17. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased by visiting or calling 601-403-1438. 

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

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