By Sarah Smith
Viva Loudoun High School Intern
(Dec. 8, 2013) – The holiday season brings visions of sugar plum fairies and snow queens to mind as various productions of The Nutcracker take the stage. This year, four major dance studios in the Loudoun area are bringing The Nutcracker to life.
The Nutcracker follows the journey of a young girl Clara and a toy nutcracker that was brought to life on their journey to the Land of the Sweets, ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy. While they are there, they celebrate, and gifts are brought to them from all over.
Loudoun Ballet Company presents a traditional rendition of The Nutcracker using the original music composed by Peter IIyich Tchaikovasky and featuring many classic pointe dances. The curtains open for their final two of four productions at Broad Run High School on Dec. 7 14 at 1:30 p.m.. and 5:30 p.m. and Dec. 15 at 4 p.m.
“It’s a tradition for me to perform in The Nutcracker since I have been doing it all my life,” junior Madeline Fulham said. “The holiday season wouldn’t be the same without it. I am so excited to be performing as the Arabian Princess as I have always loved the role and aspired to dance the part. It allows for a lot of artistic interpretation and also features some awesome partnering. It’s a dream come true to be performing it this season.”
Another local dance studio, Creative Dance Center, offers a more modern twist on the classical production. They blend the traditional elements of The Nutcracker with modern music and other genres of dance such as jazz, hip hop, and tap to create their show Nutcracker in a Shell – All Jazzed Up!
Creative Dance Center partners with The Institute of Performing Arts For Youth to offer a show that is more family friendly and enables younger children and even adults to participate. Their jazzy version of the production was held on Nov. 23 and 24.
“I’ve been dancing in the show for about eight years,” sophomore Lauren Est said. “I was cast as the sugar plum fairy this year which is always a plus. I’ve been dancing with Creative Dance Center for many years now and The Nutcracker is one of my favorite parts.”
Another unique element of Creative Dance Center’s production is that some of it is student choreographed. Older cast members are given the opportunity to choreograph routines and teach them to younger dancers.
“The best part of The Nutcracker is teaching the children,” sophomore Tara Mattimiro said. “They are always ready to learn and they love to dance. It is amazing seeing them perform on stage because you get to see their improvement first hand. All of their dedication and hard work finally pays off, and that’s an amazing feeling.”
Studio Bleu Dance Center is partnering with Troy D. Brown, a professional ballet dancer and his program, The Art of Technique to perform The Nutcracker this winter. Show dates are on Dec. 21 and 22.
“I’ve never been involved in The Nutcracker before so it seemed interesting,” freshman Jessica Hogan said. “The best part was learning routines on pointe with my friends.”
These local dance studios all have put a different spin on this timeless production. Colorful costumes, elegant dance, and a strong feeling of holiday spirit and enthusiasm will accompany each of the shows, making the 2013 holiday season one that’s “en pointe.”
Sarah Smith is a junior at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn