St. Croix Ballet prepares 15th annual Nutcracker performance

Mary Burchill, Fashion Blog Editor

The St. Croix Ballet has made performing the Nutcracker an annual event since 1990, every year dancers work tirelessly to put on an unforgettable performance for Thanksgiving weekend.

These dancers work five to six days a week, 20 hours a week, constantly running over numbers and working tirelessly to put together the show. It takes place in the auditorium. The show is double cast, which means that each lead part has two people playing the role. Junior Sofia Miller and Junior Elizabeth Kliber work together to play the young lead, Clara. Senior Ava Wichser and junior Mckenzie Brady are the Sugar Plum Fairy. The show and studio is choreographed and lead by Susan Hovey. 

The Nutcracker is a Stillwater tradition where kids throughout the community come together and form a piece of art that startles the community yearly, and the students that take part in it love the experience just as much as the viewers. 

“The Nutcracker is always my favorite time of the year because it only comes once a year. We spend three months rehearsing nonstop for one weekend, which is so exciting!” Wichser said.

The Nutcracker is always a great way for the community to kickstart the Holiday season, families come from all over the city to experience a show with holiday music and spectacular dancing.

“The dances in the Nutcracker are all so festive and fun. They really capture the audience’s attention,” said Wichser. “My favorite part of the performance is when Clara’s world is turned into the land of sweets. It’s such a magical time.”

Many students from the high school participate in this show as well. The show for females is done on pointe, which is a type of shoe that enables dancers to dance on their toes. This type of dance requires strict focus and dedication to master

“Pointe shoes are the shoes, made out of wood, that enable us to dance on our toes. These shoes are beautiful, but can also be very painful at times and can create a lot of injuries. Adding pointe shoes to a dance or choreography makes the piece more difficult and adds a challenge to it,” Brady said.

Despite the challenges pointe can bring, these dancers are willing to push through any pain for their dedication and love for it, dancing in the Nutcracker is a piece of these students and a yearly tradition they always look forward to.

“To me a dancer means hard work and dedication, you need to be able to take criticism from anyone,” said junior Grace Gualtieri, She has been dancing with St. Croix Ballet for many years. This year is a party mom, Spanish and waltz lead in the production. “I love to dance because there is always room to improve and push yourself more and more. The most challenging thing [in the show] is pacing yourself and not using all your energy within the first act,” Wichser commented.

The community spirit involved in the performance is surely there and is demonstrated through the incredible team work both back stage and on the front stage. From small children to young adults the show has a wide range of ages to tie together a feeling of community and fun.

I have many favorite parts in the Nutcracker, but the one that is my all time favorite is in the finale when at the end all of the cast dances together for one last time. The music to the finale still gives me chills.”

— Mckenzie Brady

“I think Waltz of the Flowers is the most challenging dance to perform because of how many dancers are involved. We all have to work hard together to make this and all dances come alive. My favorite part of the show would have to be Gigionne.  This is such a cute fun dance where all the little dancers pop out from underneath a beautiful giant skirt and dance around not remembering all the steps which makes this so hilariously adorable!” sophomore Meghan Junker said.  Junker performs in the Waltz of the Flower, Snow and a new role called the Neapolitan.

The dancing in the Nutcracker is joyous for both the audience and the dancers to experience. With lively, classic music and jaw-dropping choreography there is a special moment for everyone involved that they won’t ever forget.

“I have many favorite parts in the Nutcracker, but the one that is my all time favorite is in the finale when at the end all of the cast dances together for one last time. The music to the finale still gives me chills,” Brady said.

Not only is this tradition going to be as spectacular as always to enjoy for all ages, but it is a special year as students will come and go from the tradition. Students like Wichser who will go away from this special journey with unforgettable memories and friendships.

“It’s so special to be apart of the 25th anniversary. The legacy of the Nutcracker has been carried on for so many years and will always be a special part of the holiday season. I can’t believe this is my last Nutcracker and I’m so sad to leave it but I know the legacy will always continue.”