See a Sugar Plum at California Ballet’s The Nutcracker, then make some at home!

Nutcracker in Pool of Light edit It’s December, and that means ballet companies across the globe are hard at work rehearsing countless productions of The Nutcracker. California Ballet Company is no different. We’re working our dancers to the bone, getting them ready to present the largest Nutcracker in San Diego. This year we have ten performances at the San Diego Civic Theatre with the San Diego Symphony.DSC_0398[1]

Now stop a moment and think about The Nutcracker. Who is the star of the show?

What’s your answer? Unless you’re a regular ballet-goer, or a dancer yourself, you probably answered, “The Nutcracker Prince and Clara, of course!”


Chie 1 edit

But, did you know that the real star of The Nutcracker is the Sugar Plum Fairy?

That’s right, the Sugar Plum Fairy is always danced by the ballet company’s best ballerinas. She’s the star of the show, the big cheese, and that’s why her dance number, the Grande Pas de Deux, is the last number before the finale. We save the best for last!

We thought it would be fun, with Nutcracker right around the corner, to take a look at California Ballet’s top dancers and see who’s dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy this year.

And if you’re real good, and you read the whole article, you’ll find a recipe to make real sugar plums at home! Have you ever tasted one? Do you even know what one looks like? Well, read on and you can become your own Sugar Plum Fairy!


 Chie KudoBallerina

Kudo, ChieAt the top of our lineup for Sugar Plum Fairy is California Ballet’s newly appointed Principal Ballerina, Chie Kudo. Miss Kudo joined the company as a soloist in 2006, and has climbed the ballet ladder to be our currently highest ranking dancer in the company. She received her training in Japan, and has won numerous ballet competitions. Miss Kudo is currently completing her training as a professional pilates trainer, and is always happy to take on new students. If you live in the San Diego area, email for more information on pilates training with Miss Kudo.


Bernadette TorresPrincipal

Torres, BernadetteAlso standing in the spotlight as a Sugar Plum Fairy is California Ballet Principal Dancer Bernadette Torres. Miss Torres is a native San Diegan who began her training at the Ballet Conservatory in Chula Vista. She joined California Ballet last season as a Soloist and was promoted to Principal Dancer this year. Miss Torres spent the previous two summers in Italy with CBC Principal Dancer Carlo Di Dio, where the dance couple received more than one award. This is Miss Torres’s first year dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy with California Ballet Company.


Rebecca CorreiaSoloist

Correia, RebeccaLast, but most certainly not least, Soloist Rebecca Correia will be taking center stage as the Sugar Plum Fairy this year. Miss Correia is a California Ballet School graduate, and received her training with the company’s affiliated school. She joined the corps de ballet in 2006, spent the 2007-2008 season training with the Boston Ballet, and returned to California Ballet in 2008 where she was promoted to soloist in 2010. A San Diego native, Miss Correia’s dynamic stage presence continually delights local audiences, most recently as Alice in Charles Bennett’s Alice in Wonderland this past October. This is Miss Correia’s first year dancing the role of Sugar Plum Fairy with California Ballet Company.

As you can see, the ladies dancing the role of Sugar Plum Fairy are an eclectic collection of nationalities, backgrounds, and training. What they all three have in common is their profound technical prowess and the ability to not just dance on the stage, but own it.

Don’t miss your chance to see these amazing dancers in action. California Ballet’s The Nutcracker runs ten performances at the San Diego Civic Theatre with the San Diego Symphony December 17- 23.

Ticket Prices range from $25-$80 with a 25% children’s discount in most sections. For more tickets or more information call 858-560-6741 or CLICK HERE!!!

Now, as promised, let’s make some sugar plums! Now, many people think of the fruit when they hear the words sugar plum. There is a fruit with that name – little purple plums with a pale yellow flesh that are very sweet. However, the second act of the ballet takes place in the Kingdom of the Sweets. We see bon bons, Spanish Chocolates, Marzipan Flutes, ribbon candy, the list goes on and on.

That being the case, the Sugar Plum Fairy is named after a confection, not a fruit. Sugar plums are little balls of honey, nuts, and spices that just scream of the holiday season. They are admittedly not as pretty as their ballerina counterpart. They are, however, incredibly tasty!

Here’s the recipe to make the traditional Sugar Plum confection:


Sugar Plums
from Saveur Magazine

2 cups whole almonds
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
1 cup pitted dates, finely chopped
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 400F. Arrange almonds on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast in oven for ten minutes. Set aside to cool and then finely chop. Meanwhile, combine honey, orange zest, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Mix almonds, apricots, dates and spice mix in a large bowl. Mix well. Pinch off rounded teaspoon-sized pieces and roll into balls. Dust the sugar plums with powdered sugar and refrigerate in single layers between sheets of wax paper in airtight containers for up to one month.

Have fun making them, it’s actually very simple and quick, and these will be a huge hit at your next holiday party. Kids, remember to only cook and bake when accompanied by a responsible adult. Responsible adults, remember to act like a kid when enjoying these delectable treats!

Have a great holiday season, be sure to get your Nutcracker tickets soon, and we’ll see you at the ballet!

For those with allergies, please note that the above recipe contains nuts, various spices, citrus, and honey. Please be aware of your allergies before enjoying.


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