Press Releases


Date Released: 10/27/2006

New York City Ballet star Ashley Bouder and Joseph Phillips of the San Francisco Ballet join the Purchase Dance Corps, the Purchase Symphony Orchestra, and over 100 local children in Nutcracker ‘06, a traditional version of the enchanting holiday classic, December 1-3 in the Purchase College Performing Arts Center.

Performances are Friday, December 1 at 7:15 PM; Saturday, December 2 at 2 and 7 PM; and Sunday, December 3 at 1 and 5 PM. Tickets are $45, $35 and $25 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 914-251-6200 or visiting

Purchase College, State University of New York is located at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, N.Y.

Nutcracker ’06 features choreography by the Purchase College School of the Arts, Conservatory of Dance faculty, with artistic direction by former New York City Ballet dancer and Conservatory ballet faculty member Bettijane Sills of White Plains, N.Y. The featured dancers are New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Ashley Bouder as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Joseph Phillips of the San Francisco Ballet as her Cavalier. The role of Clara will be danced by Connie Bowen of Old Greenwich, Conn., Annie Corrao of Thornwood, N.Y., and Catherine Hurlin of White Plains, N.Y.

The Nutcracker ‘06 ballet is based on the classic tale by E.T.A. Hoffman and set to music by Peter Tchaikovsky. On a very special Christmas Eve, a young girl receives an unusual gift from her adored godfather, a little Nutcracker doll. Later that night, she returns to the parlor to cuddle her doll and suddenly finds herself immersed in a world of danger and magic, as her Nutcracker Prince comes alive to battle armies of giant mice and lead her through the snow, into the Land of Sweets.

Ashley Bouder joined the New York City Ballet in 2000 and became a Soloist in 2004. She was promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer in 2005.  Born in Carlisle, Penn., she has had featured roles in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, and Jewels as well as Jerome Robbins’ The Four Seasons, Peter Martins’ The Sleeping Beauty and Christopher Wheeldon’s Mercurial Manoeuvres. She has originated featured roles in Susan Stroman’s The Blue Necklace and Peter Martins’ Viva Verdi, among others.

Joseph Phillips became a member of the corps de ballet of the San Francisco Ballet in 2004. After winning a gold medal at the prestigious USA International Ballet Competition in 2002, he performed around the world at festivals and galas then joined the San Francisco Ballet as an apprentice in 2003. Born in Montgomery, Ala., he calls Columbia, S.C. his hometown. He is a graduate of the North Carolina School for the Arts. 

Connie Bowen of Old Greenwich has spent the last eight years studying ballet and jazz at the St. Saviour’s School of Dance in Connecticut. She has also participated in the American Ballet Theatre’s Ballet for the Young Dancer program. This summer she attended the American Ballet Theatre’s 2006 Young Dancer Summer Workshop in New York City. She is a sixth grader at Eastern Middle School where she is in the Treble Choir and a violinist in the school orchestra.

Annie Corrao of Thornwood has studied ballet for eight years. She is currently enrolled at the Scarsdale Ballet Studio. In addition to dance, she is a gymnast, plays piano and performs in musical theatre. This year she performed in the Random Farm Kids’ Theatre productions of Cinderella and Suessical at the Tarrytown Music Hall. She is 11 years old and attends Holy Rosary School in Hawthorne, N.Y.

Ten-year-old Catherine Hurlin of White Plains has studied dance for six years and currently attends Westchester Dance Academy in Port Chester, N.Y. under the direction of Kelly Burke-Fitzpatrick. She is the winner of numerous dance competitions and is the current 2006 Mini Outstanding Dancer for the New York City Dance Alliance and a recent participant in the Young Dancer Intensive with American Ballet Theater. This past year, she performed on Broadway at the Nothing Like a Dame benefit event for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and at STARS of Tomorrow…Giving Back Today for the Dancers Responding to AIDS benefit at Purchase College. Most recently she performed with Paul Newman, Bernadette Peters and Alec Baldwin at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, Conn.

Bettijane Sills, artistic director of Nutcracker ’06, is a full professor at the Conservatory of Dance.  She has had an extensive theatrical career on the Broadway stage and on television as a child actress.  She was invited by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet and was a soloist who danced principal roles for many years. Balanchine created roles for her in Who Cares and Jewels, as did Jerome Robbins in his revival of The Concert.  She has staged the Balanchine repertory at the Conservatory and has choreographed several works for the Purchase Dance Corps.

The Purchase Dance Corps is the performing company of the School of the Arts, Conservatory of Dance under the direction of Dean Carol K. Walker. The company presents a diversity of work ranging from reconstructions to contemporary modern and classical ballet repertory to new works created especially for the Purchase Dance Corps.  The company performs a winter and spring concert and participates in festivals in the United States and abroad.

The 70-member Purchase Symphony Orchestra features students from the Purchase College School of the Arts, Conservatory of Music, conducted by Jesse Levine, Professor of Viola and Chamber Music and Chair of the String Department at the Yale School of Music. He has held the positions of Music Director and Conductor of the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra (1981-2001), Orquesta del Principado de Asturias in Spain, Chappaqua Orchestra and the Feld Ballet.