California Ballet’s Patrick Nollet is dancing the part of Herr Drosselmeyer this week in the troupe’s annual “Nutcracker.” But when the San Diego Repertory Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol” opened at the Lyceum recently, the talented dancer was wearing an entirely different hat.

Nollet was called upon to appear as an 11th-hour replacement for actor Eric Grischkat in the part of the exploited clerk, Bob Cratchit.

“I just had a day to prepare for the role when the original Bob Cratchit was injured, but somehow the adrenalin got going and I went on for the whole weekend--including the opening night performance,” said Nollet. “It was great.”

Grischkat has returned to the role of Cratchit now, and the versatile dancer/choreographer has added another feather to his cap.


- Cal Ballet’s special guest artist, Oliver Matz of the Berlin State Ballet, was late in arriving in San Diego, due to some bureaucratic red tape back home. But he danced Saturday evening and Sunday matinee performances of “The Nutcracker"--as scheduled--despite a loss of rehearsal time.

Matz will dance again Friday (alternating with Thomas Shoemaker, principal with the Atlanta Ballet) as the dashing Cavalier when the company’s full-blown “Nutcracker” is danced to live music at the San Diego Civic Theatre.

- San Diego State University’s Patricia Sandback, recent recipient of the Lawrence S. Epstein annual choreography award, received honorable mention in Dance magazine (the most prestigious magazine covering dance in the country) for her work at the San Diego Area Dance Alliance Dance Festival this year. Sandra Foster-King, another local dancer/choreographer, was also cited.

- The San Diego Area Dance Alliance is finally on the map. The annual Dance California Conference will be held in San Diego for the first time in 1988, and the alliance will play host.


The conference, slated for this summer, will be a meeting ground for dance organizations and individual artists from throughout the state.

The alliance received high marks from the California Arts Council. The Dance Program Peer Panel placed it in the top category of “exemplary” dance organizations in the state.