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Globe Santa

‘Nutcracker’ keeps up fine tradition

Volunteers from Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research took toys to children at the East End House recently. Novartis has given generously to Globe Santa.

Mary O’Connor for The Boston Globe

Volunteers from Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research took toys to children at the East End House recently. Novartis has given generously to Globe Santa.

Trezure Lardeur is a busy young woman. Between schoolwork and applying for college, she regularly takes the T to Harvard Square where she attends dance classes on full scholarship at the Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre in Cambridge.

The longtime ballet student is experiencing the excitement of dancing before a packed house as part of the theater’s annual production of “The Nutcracker,” featuring Trezure as an angel and a soldier, as well as about 200 children from the Boston area.

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“The people at Jose Mateo really care about all kinds of people getting to study ballet and really experience it,” she said after a daytime performance before an audience of schoolchildren at the Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner in Dorchester that “went really well.”

“The Nutcracker” “is my first time performing onstage before a giant paying audience,” said the 17-year-old who moved to Milton from Brooklyn several years ago. “I’m pretty nervous, but I’m getting used to it.”

The Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre’s production of the classic ballet opened in Duxbury, then moved to Cambridge, and will close at the Strand, where the company had its debut performance in 1987.

“Jose Mateo Ballet has a proud tradition of outreach into the local communities through support of local theaters,” said William Connolly of the Globe. “The Strand Theatre is in the Globe’s backyard, and Globe Santa’s partnership with Jose Mateo Ballet recognizes their work and their tradition.”

Since the company’s debut “we’ve tried to stay abreast of how the Strand has served that community,” said Jose Mateo, who is a member of the Task Force on the Future of the Strand Theatre. “Our organization is very committed to providing community outreach through access to both dance training and dance performance. And the Strand is a wonderful venue.”

This is the second consecutive year the company has brought “The Nutcracker” to the Strand, and Mateo said the group plans to continue the tradition.

Mateo said interest in “The Nutcracker” among families in Dorchester is growing quickly. This year, more than 70 Dorchester children auditioned at the Salvation Army Croc Center in September, compared with just 15 last year.

The Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre’s production is the only “Nutcracker” in Boston that holds open auditions, said Julie Hayen Miller, director of communications for the ballet group.

“It was really exciting to bring in all those new kids,” Miller said, noting that some of the young dancers have experience while others do not. One mother of a 6-year-old girl who is playing a mouse said her daughter auditioned after she spotted a flier in her Dorchester neighborhood, “and now she’s dying to take dance.”

Ticket sales this year, Miller said, have been “really strong.”

“Last year was a huge success in terms of our ability to connect with social service agencies,” she said. “We gave out a lot of tickets, but we also sold a lot of tickets, so it’s a really great model for us.”

The Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre’s commitment to Boston-area children makes it a natural partner for Globe Santa, who shares that commitment. The two organizations have teamed up to help spread the word about this year’s production.

Toward that end, the Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre gave Globe Santa 100 free tickets to “The Nutcracker” this year, which were distributed among children or auctioned to raise funds that go toward Globe Santa toys for children who would otherwise go without.

On Dec. 23, Globe Santa will drive his sleigh to Uphams Corner to meet and greet dance fans attending the 1:30 p.m. performance.

Visit www.globesanta.org to learn more about the history of Globe Santa, upcoming events, or to make a donation.

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