South Valley version of the show will feature 140 performers
Published in the December 11-25 issue of Morgan Hill Life
By Marty Cheek
Sugar plum fairies, gingerbread soldiers and other dream-land characters will come to life as Lana’s Dance Studio presents Tchaikovsky’s holiday fantasy ballet “The Nutcracker” at the Gavilan College Theater Dec. 20 and 21.
In the last month, students at Lana’s Dance Studio have been rehearsing “The Nutcracker,” a Christmas time favorite for families, to tell on stage the romantic story of how a young girl named Clara and a Nutcracker prince defeats the Rat King and saves the Land of Sweets one Christmas Eve. The South Valley version will feature 140 performers, said Lana Wright, founder of the dance studio that has locations in Morgan Hill and Gilroy. It will be a traditional “Nutcracker” but performers will add fun twists to amuse the audience, she said.
“It’s like a buzz right now that everyone is so excited to be a part of the show,” Wright said. “Everyone is hurrying up and getting their Christmas shopping done so they can spend the time doing rehearsals and performing in ‘The Nutcracker.’ There’s a lot of fun and a little bit of humor to bring everyone together. It captures the whole spirit of the holidays.”
Carolyn Chadbourne, 11, plays the lead female role of Clara, the young girl who receives a toy nutcracker soldier as a gift one magical Christmas Eve night. Her brother Fritz grows jealous and purposely breaks the nutcracker toy, saddening Clara.
Magic happens at midnight when the toy comes to life as a soldier prince and takes Clara to find adventures in a fantasy land of sweets. Ultimately, Clara must kill the tyrannical Rat King that rules the land so that everyone can live happily ever after.
“It’s a really fun show and it makes people get into the spirit of Christmas and brings them joy and that kind of thing,” Chadbourne said while taking a rehearsal break at the Morgan Hill studio. “It’s a good holiday tradition and a lot of people know the story but it’s good for them to experience ‘The Nutcracker’ in different ways.”
The Nutcracker Prince is performed by Josh Escover, 13, who has been dancing with Lana’s Dance Studio since he was two years old. “I’m excited and I think we’re well prepared and I think it’s going to be a really good show,” Escover said.
Wright emphasizes that all her students who want to perform will get a role regardless of age and talent level. Age groups range from 2-year-olds who perform as “cookies” coming out of a gingerbread house to adults performing in the Christmas Eve party scene.
“We’re really showing the different talents off,” she said. “We’re kind off showing what the studio is about and the different levels that we have. We want to make ‘The Nutcracker’ appealing where people will say, ‘Oh, I want my kid to be in that show because they have all different levels.’ It’s not about the best of the best. It’s about everyone from all different levels coming together and doing their best at every level.”