The American Pacific Ballet Company and The Academy of Dance brought the nostalgic melodies of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic “The Nutcracker” to the Plummer Auditorium Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4.
Snowflakes, soldiers and sugar plum fairies had the audience bedazzled and left to recall a simpler time. With magnificent backdrops and an exuberant array of lights and music, the story was told through the emotions of young, aspiring dancers.
The wondrous performance was the result of Merle Sepel, the director of The Academy of Dance and artistic director of the American Pacific Ballet Company.
“We started in August and have been rehearsing two to three times a week,” Sepel said. “I was so, so proud. The teamwork was amazing. The support of family and friends was phenomenal and the dancers worked very hard.”
Both shows on Saturday and Sunday night were sold out with 2,400 attendees occupying seats.
“When the dancers heard we had two sold out shows they were beyond excited,” Sepel continued. “They had the opportunity to bring joy to a lot of people.”
Sepel also mentioned that it was a such a thrill for her to have professionals dance as the sugar plum fairy and cavalier.
The entire performance, including every act and scene, was full of talent. Each costume was vivid in color and precise in detail.
Many family members of the performers were there to cheer them on. Denise and Stan, who’re the grandparents of two of the production’s performers, have seen the production a few times.
“It was a fabulous production, with beautiful choreography and outstanding lead dancers as usual,” the couple noted.
One of their grandchildren, 13-year-old Lauren, played a Russian soldier. She described the event as a “nerve wracking performance,” but well worth it.
Their other grandchild Ava, 10, who played a soldier and palace attendant explained that the performance was her second Nutcracker and was “definitely the most memorable.”
Their mother, Desiree explained how wonderful the community is.
“It exposes children to an opportunity that they may not normally have access to,” Desiree said. “It’s a great community and all these kids have been dancing since they were little.”
Alyssa Ventress, who played a Dewdrop, explained how appreciative she and everyone else in the production was of their director.
“I love working with Miss Merle,” 16-year-old Ventress said. “I’m super close with her. I’ve been dancing with her for 12 years and I love her support.”
To see upcoming events at the Plummer Auditorium, visit their website here.