Alameda Ballet Takes its Nutcracker on the Road

Courtesy photo &nbsp&nbsp Alameda Civic Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker will be held for the 12th time this year. Due to renovations to Kofman Auditorium, the show will take place in Castro Valley for the first time.

Alameda Ballet Takes its Nutcracker on the Road

Annual tradition will be held in Castro Valley due to renovations at Kofman

Alameda Civic Ballet (ACB) is celebrating a dozen years of its full-length Nutcracker ballet by taking the show to Castro Valley for the first time. ACB alumna LiLi Pigott returns from Butler University as the Snow Queen, performing Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet in performances this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 22 and 23, at 7 p.m. The shows will be held at the Castro Valley Center for the Arts.

ACB didn’t let last year’s last-minute surprise closure of Kofman Auditorium slow it down. A search for a new venue began immediately. Fortunately for the group, the Castro Valley Center for the Arts, a truly modern and professionally run theater, was available. 

“Producing Nutcracker has a bittersweet feel this year,” explained Artistic Director Abra Rudisill. “After 11 straight years of building a true holiday tradition in Alameda, being forced to leave the Island was hard. But producing the ballet in such an outstanding venue has been terrific.” Rudisill also noted that the production will be essentially identical to the extravagant sets, costumes, and — perhaps most importantly — outstanding dancing Alamedans have come to expect from the past 11 ACB Nutcrackers.

One of the outstanding dancers in this year’s cast is Pigott, a senior at Butler University in Indiana. She is an alumna of ACB Nutcrackers, having worked her way up to the corps de ballet, and finally landing the coveted role of Clara in 2010 and 2011. She danced the role of the Rose Queen in 2015. 

“I’m so excited to be dancing as the Snow Queen this year with Joel Morin-Kensicki, one of my best friends from Butler,” reported Pigott. “We’ve been logging lots of extra rehearsal time. We can’t wait for everyone to see the result of our hard work.”

Past ACB Nutcrackers, which annually feature more than 120 dancers from the community and from local professional companies, have included such notable dancers as Marena Pérez (Balleteatro Nacional de Puerto Rico), Roberto Vega (National Ballet of Cuba), Meredith Webster and Corey Scott-Gilbert (Lines Ballet) and Nikki and Ethan White (Smuin Ballet).

Tickets can be purchased at, although note that, at press time, the Saturday matinee show was already sold out (tickets still remain for the Friday and Saturday 7 p.m. shows).

Alameda Civic Ballet, a non-profit dance company founded in 2003 by Rudisill, strives to create and present high quality, community-accessible ballet performances while providing young dancers with valuable experience performing alongside professional dancers. 

Rudisill draws upon 20 years of experience as a Prima Ballerina and Ballet Mistress with Oakland Ballet, and she seeks to carry on her artistic lineage through the education of Bay Area youth.