Newtown Well Represented In Golden Anniversary Presentation Of DMC 'Nutcracker'
DANBURY - Danbury Music Centre will present The Nutcracker Ballet December 8-10, celebrating 50 years of ballet, music, and holiday magic. This year, the area tradition will feature more than 175 performers, accompanied by Danbury Symphony Orchestra, who will perform Tchaikovsky's iconic score.
The Nutcracker cast includes 20 performers from Newtown and Sandy Hook, led by principal dancers Ashlyn DeLoughy (Sugar Plum Fairy), Taegan Smith (Clara), Arline Almeter (Spanish Queen) and Bridget Suchar (Arabian Queen and Ballerina Doll).
Ashlyn, 17, has been a member of the cast for 13 years and will perform the iconic Sugar Plum Fairy role in her final year. Of the experience, she noted that "the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy is very technical and requires a lot of stamina and precision.
"I feel I have grown so much as a dancer in the last eight weeks because I'm constantly being encouraged to take the role one step further," added Ashlyn, who dances competitively at Dance Dimensions in Brookfield, where she has studied for 16 years. She has attended numerous summer classes and conventions with Dance Masters of America, Generation IV Dance, and the American Academy of Ballet.
Taegan, 14, is thrilled to be portraying Clara in both Newtown and Danbury this year, counting the experience as "one of the most exciting things I have done," adding that she has "loved every minute of dancing as Clara."
She has studied at Newtown Centre of Classical Ballet and Voice for 11 yearsÃÂ and has attended summer ballet intensives with the Bolshoi Ballet, Koltun Ballet Boston, and the American Academy of Ballet. This will mark her ninth year in the Danbury production, where favorite roles have included Party Girl, Ginger Clown, and Snow Court.
In terms of rehearsals and preparation, both dancers acknowledge that dream roles do not come easy.
"It's a lot of hard work, but it really pays off in the end," noted Taegan. "You have to be dedicated and willing to focus your time on the show."
Ashlyn echoed that theme, saying "I really do love being able to be a role model for the younger dancers who dream of someday being roles such as Clara and Sugar Plum. I want them to see where hard work and perseverance can take them."
Local residents are present throughout the production in featured and ensemble roles: Ava Almeter (Soldier and Ginger Strong), Riley DeLoughy (Sergeant Soldier, Party Boy, and Russian), Amy DeLoughy (Party Adult), Mark DeLoughy, Jr (Party Boy, Russian, and Spanish Prince), Mark DeLoughy, Sr (Party Adult), Annie Fowler (Clara's Best Friend and Snow Court 3), Chelsea Fowler (Party Girl and Flower Pink en Pointe), Dani Gaiser (Party Girl and Marzipan Wolf), Fallyn Kirlin (Snow Court 1 and Marzipan Shepherdess), Hanna Linden (Russian andÃÂ Flower Lilac), Brianna Linden (Snow Court and Marzipan Shepherdess), Gabriel Locke (Mouse King), Serena Newnham (Scurry Mouse), Eleanor Raedy (Chinette and Flower Bud), Kylee Raiano (Flower Court), and Penelope Suchar (Party Boy, Snowflake, and Russian).
Behind the scenes, Dody Flynn as associate choreographer and Amy DeLoughy as company manager ensure a smooth and successful production. Dody and Herb Flynn graciously donate studio space at Dance Dimensions each year for rehearsals.
The community is also represented in the orchestra, with Donna Locke and Greta Loesel among those performing on oboe, and Chris Locke on celesta. The celesta is notable for its distinct sound, as heard in the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Four performances will be presented at Danbury High School, 43 Clapboard Ridge Road. They will take place on Friday, December 8, at 7:30 pm; Saturday, December 9, at 2:30ÃÂ and 7 pm; and Sunday, December 10, at 3 pm.
Tickets range from $10 to $33, and can be purchased in advance at danburymusiccentre.org. They can also be available at the box office at Danbury Music Centre, 256 Main Street in Danbury, Mondays through Thursdays between 10 am and 5 pm.
Tickets may also be purchased at the door, based on availability.
For additional information, contact Danbury Music Centre at 203-748-1716.
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