When it comes to the arts, Clarke County, Virginia has a long and distinguished history of delivering top-notch artistry and performances that exceed the county’s small population. This weekend’s performance of “A Nutcracker Holiday Celebration” promises to uphold our community’s tradition of excellence.
“We wanted to do something that was a little different this year so we didn’t follow the traditional Nutcracker plot exactly” said Nela Niemann, artistic director of the Blue Ridge Studio for the Performing Arts in Berryville, Virginia.
Niemann said that this year’s performance will introduce both a jazz dance number as well as two tap dance numbers.
“We incorporated a couple of Duke Ellington’s arrangements of Tchaikovsky’s that work very nicely in the ballet” Niemann said. “The performance is very different from the traditional Nutcracker and we’re very proud of it.”
This year marks the Blue Ridge Studio for the Performing Arts studio’s twentieth anniversary in Clarke County. During those two decades, Niemann estimates that she has taught thousands of dancers in ballet, tap, jazz and other dance styles. Several of Niemann’s students have gone on to dance professionally around the world.
“People are always pleasantly surprised about the extraordinary caliber of dance that we have here” Niemann said. “We have an excellent faculty and very dedicated students.”
This weekend’s performance of “A Nutcracker Holiday Celebration” will feature Niemann’s best dancers who were invited to perform based on an audition process. Although this will be the ensemble’s first performance together Niemann believes that audiences will be very pleased with the performance.
“A Nutcracker Holiday Celebration” will feature 22 primary dancers as well as 15 children dancing as “angels” and several supporting adults who will participate in the ballet’s opening party scene.
“We have some very talented dancers in this performance” Niemann said. Winchester high school senior Dillon Robb, who will dance the role of “Prince” in the ballet, has studied with Niemann since he was three years old. “Dillon is an amazing dancer and I think that his performance will be a treat for the audience.”
The “Rum Plum Fairy” will be danced by senior Elaina Morgan. Morgan says that she only started dancing five years ago but is now hoping to join a professional dance company rather than spending the next four years in college. “I haven’t decided where I’d like to dance for sure” Morgan said. “Dancing just feels very natural for me. It’s definitely my passion.”
Blue Ridge Studio for the Performing Arts is a non-profit organization. It’s “A Nutcracker Holiday Celebration” performance will be held on Saturday, December 18 at 2:00pm and Sunday, December 19 at 7:00pm at Millbrook High School in Winchester. Tickets may be purchased at the door for $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.
For more please visit http:// http://www.blueridgestudio.org/