BIG new character chomps at chance to join Ballet’s “Nutcracker”

Noelle Wedig prepares Fiona for the big stage.

Cincinnati Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” returns to Music Hall for its 45th year.

This season, the company brings on a new ballerina, the world’s most famous hippo, Fiona. Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Zoo collaborated on what they term Fiona’s “character development.”

“Our wardrobe team spent four weeks and nearly 100 hours designing and constructing the custom-made costume,” said Cincinnati Ballet artistic director Victoria Morgan, which was modeled after the real Fiona. The company’s newest ballerina stands more than six-feet tall, donned with a pink, multi-layered tulle tutu that measures 60 inches around at the waist.

Fiona made her first appearance and began rehearsing with the rest of the dancers on Nov. 13.

“Fiona the hippo is a graceful diva in her pool at Hippo Cove,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard. “I can’t wait to see the moves that Victoria has choreographed for the Fiona character! I’m sure this addition to the cast will be a big hit with all audiences.”

Performances run Dec. 13-24.

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