The holiday tradition continued with Burks dancers performing “The Nutcracker” at Fleetwood High School on December 11th and 12th.
“I hope that the community will provide us with an opportunity to come together and celebrate the holidays.
Every other year, the Kutztown Dance Center presents a ballet at one of the local high schools.
“I think The Nutcracker is probably one of the longest-running holiday traditions. It premiered in 1892 and has been played basically every Christmas,” Hulsebos said. “This music is recognizable by everyone and is part of his playlist for almost every holiday.”
The Nutcracker is often the first time a dancer is exposed to ballet.
“Young children see the Sugar Plum Fairy and her pretty tutu, or see the Russians and their leaps and acrobatics, and want to be those people. Not only is it a fun start to the upcoming holiday season, but it will keep kids interested in dancing for just as long!”
In that sense, she said, “The Nutcracker” is an incredibly important tradition.
“It is so widespread that most people can see the Nutcracker, or at least part of it, and many people are interested in the art.”
“It’s fun, whimsical, and the music is so catchy that you hear it once and it stays in your head forever,” she added.
A wholly local production, the Kutztown Dance Center does not employ professional dancers. The entire community around the studio will be involved in planning, directing and running the show.
“I think there are many things that are quite different from the rest of The Nutcracker. The skill and commitment of … I was able to go on and on,” said Furcebos.
Nearly all of the costumes were designed and created by the show’s director, Priscilla Knight.
“The colors are bold and vibrant, and each costume is unique with a level of attention to detail you don’t get from store-bought costumes. .
This year, new costumes for the entire snow scene were designed and created by Knight, Alyssa Sitarik, and the dancer’s parent, Stacey Seidel, respectively. These costumes had not been replaced since the Center’s first Nutcracker in 2000.
Kutztown Dance Center has many people creating sets and scenery. Recent additions include a party scene and a snowy background.
“After Alyssa Sitalik designed the artwork, we all got together one weekend and painted the other parents’ driveways,” she said. This is something that can only be seen at major ballet companies.”
From backstage to onstage to front of house, the entire production is made up of local dancers and their families.
The ‘Nutcracker’ dancers are from Berks County’s Cuttstown Dance Center and other local studios, along with students from Cuttstown, Fleetwood, Brandywine Heights, Ollie Valley, Hamburg, and Macungie School Districts.
“Rather than recruiting professional dancers, we prefer to give primary lead opportunities to local students. and deserve recognition for their efforts,” said Frusebos.
About 60 dancers performed in this year’s production. The youngest, about 6 years old, is a little angel. Most of the cast is in the age range from her 6 to her 18 and includes her parents in the party scene. Many adult dancers have also performed and have been Knight’s students since childhood.
One of the adult dancers, Jamie G., who has performed at the Kutztown Dance Center since childhood, played the roles of Party Mom, Snowflake and Marzipan Shepherd.
“For a lot of people, dancing ends when they graduate and go to college, so if you can do what you love after you graduate and share this lifelong passion with your daughter, dancing becomes even more valuable. It’s going to be something,” Jamie said.
Hulsebos believes that every experience has an outlet.
“It’s a way to get out of your head and stop worrying about other things. During rehearsals there’s no room for anything else but dancing, and for many students dancing relieves a lot of the stress they’re undergoing.” I think,” she said.
Performance is also one of the pleasures.
“For about a year, these kids were kind of stuck and really scared they wouldn’t get back to what they love,” she said. “Since August, this has been a clear goal they have been working towards and I think it has provided a kind of confidence they can hold onto.”
The show provides connection with other dancers.
“This is definitely a team project and it’s been a lot of fun to see these kids and their parents who are so integral to this performance.
The show was never sold out, but the auditorium was nearly full.
“We’ve had a tremendous response from the community,” said Hulsebos. “As far as we know, many people choose to go to a small local Nutcracker rather than go to a city (Philadelphia or New York) to see a professional Nutcracker. ”
The center received more calls and emails than before from people not directly related to the studio.
She said everyone involved was very enthusiastic and excited about both performing and watching.
11-year-old Sydney C., who plays Fritz, Pines, Icicles and Flowers, said, “I love the friendships you make.
“I love watching everyone progress through the Nutcracker season,” said 14-year-old Helen Y. Frost She is a Fairy, Party Boy, Guardian Angel, Flowers and Arabians.
Harper L., 6, said her favorite parts of The Nutcracker were being an angel and eating snacks backstage with her friends.
Elizabeth P., a 6-year-old angel, said her favorite part was blowing her trumpet horn on stage. This was a special part that only two angels could do.
6-year-old Angel Kylie M. said her favorite part is dancing with her friends.
“I love watching the snow fall in the snow scene,” said 13-year-old Ava B., who played Raggedy Ann, Arabian, and Soldier, and enjoyed watching the dancers warm up with the full cast before the show. Had fun.
11-year-old Ava M., who owns mice and sprinkles, also likes the fullcast warm-u.
“It’s fun to see everyone together and meet new people. I also like watching sweets perform because it’s exciting.”
Excitement for the show was high.
“The atmosphere was very celebratory,” said Furcebos. “Backstage, everyone was happy and energetic.”
Dancers cheered everyone on.
“There were a few moments when our dancers did some particularly hard stunts that took their breath away. Seeing everyone gathered backstage cheering them on and congratulating them as they came off the stage.” It was great,” she said.
It was also one of the most reactive audiences.
“There are quite a few comedic moments, especially during the party scene, and it was very satisfying to hear the audience laugh because they don’t always respond.”
The energy was also different than usual.
“The energy from the cast, crew, dancers’ parents and families is much greater than usual because everyone is so excited to do something ‘normal,'” she said.
According to Hulsebos, there was a sense of surprise and appreciation for this year’s show, and everyone wanted to do everything they could to make the show a success.