Snowflakes And Angels Will Again Dance With Clara In ‘The Nutcracker Suite’ During Next Weekend's Holiday Festival
Both angelic and doll-like, ballerinas dressed in halos, wings, or carrying ribbons and wrapped gifts ran through a dress rehearsal for the seasonal Nutcracker Suite on Friday, November 16. Getting ready again this year, Newtown Centre of Classical Ballet and Voice (NCCB) dancers and staff are partnering with Newtown Youth & Family Services for the 33rd Annual Newtown Holiday Festival.
Tory Gozzi, artistic director of NCCB, said her students will present two one-hour performances, at noon and 2 pm, on Sunday, December 2, in the theater of Edmond Town Hall, 45 Main Street. Tickets can be purchased for $15 each as part of the Holiday Festival package or for the Nutcracker performances only, for $8 at the door.
A majority of the production is put on by the Newtown Centre of Classical Ballet and Voice studio company members, ages 10 and up, who audition to be a part of the company for the upcoming season each June. These dancers meet for extra rehearsals weekly and “have done an absolutely beautiful job learning choreography and characterizations to bring each scene to life,” Ms Gozzi said.
Her students performed an encore presentation of their Winter 2018 original ballet The Planets Suite as part of Newtown Arts Festival in September, losing several rehearsals to The Nutcracker. Ms Gozzi is “so proud of the extra work that these dancers put in to learn choreography quickly, spend extra time studying and learning that choreography at home between rehearsals, and come ready to learn new choreography and new details each week so that this show is as excellent as ever. We have such an energetic and passionate cast of kids who love dancing, and I’m so excited to bring this holiday tradition to our community once again through their eyes and talent.”
Last year was the first year that Ms Gozzi had Nutckracker’s main character, Clara, enter the Land of the Sweets via a “beautiful sleigh” led by reindeer — three young male dancers. That idea has been expanded upon this year.
“We loved it so much that this year we invited our entire three- and four-year-old class to be a whole team of reindeer,” Ms Gozzi said. That team will lead the sleigh through the magical snow forest into the Sugar Plum Fairy’s castle on December 2.
“These little ones are definitely on track to stealing the show with their big antlers and fluffy white tails,” she said. Students and parents “have been working hard volunteering to add to our show’s aesthetic.”
This year’s performances will have “a beautifully redesigned wooden sleigh” that was handcrafted and painted by Richard Neeb, math teacher at Reed Intermediate in Newtown and father of 9-year-old Hannah Neeb, who will be dancing as part of the Ribbon Candy Court. Cheese sticks for the characters playing rats in the battle scene were imagined and assembled by Amanda Morrison, music teacher at Jockey Hollow Middle School in Monroe and mother of 10-year-old Mary Morrison, who will appear in roles of Rat, Snowflake, and Spanish Court.
Featured Dancers And Characters
Nonnewaug High School sophomore Chelsea Fowler will be performing as Clara in this year’s production.
Newtown High School senior Fallyn Kirlin will be performing as the Sugar Plum Fairy; Fallyn is also featured as Clara in the upcoming community Danbury Music Centre Nutcracker, December 7-9 at Danbury High School.
The aforementioned Level One dancers will be performing as the reindeer; Level Two (5- and 6-year-olds) will be performing as the angels; Level Three (7-year-olds) will be performing as Chinettes in Act Two; Level Four (8- and 9-year-olds) will be splitting between Arabian Court and Ribbon Candy Court in Act Two.
As soon as this show wraps in a few weekends, the studio has plans to bring “the best of ballet classics to several of the local elementary schools this spring,” Ms Gozzi said. Students will perform excerpts from Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, La Fille Mal Gardée, Don Quixote, and The Nutcracker, all set in a kid-friendly 30-minute show for school assemblies.
For additional information about this year’s Holiday Festival on December 2 — which will again include a walking tour of historic homes, Holiday Tea, Kids Tea, Festival of Trees, poinsettia sales, and more, all to benefit Newtown Youth & Family Services — visit newtownyouthandfamilyservices.org.
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