The Shepherdstown School of Dance ballerinas are set to steal the Frank Center auditorium stage with their 8th annual, full-length performance of The Nutcracker Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 13 and 14.
“One thing I’ve certainly realized since I’ve started dancing is that The Nutcracker is truly timeless,” Emily Romine, the artistic director of the school and a dancer since she was 7, said.
There are two performances at Shepherd University’s Frank Center auditorium on Saturday, Dec. 13, beginning at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Sunday, Dec. 14 performance will start at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance and can be bought online at shepherdstownschoolofdance.com and Encore Apparel in Motion in Shepherdstown. Tickets bought at the door will be $25.
The production will consist of girls ages 6 to 18, and Jordan Nelson, an apprentice at the Suzanne Farrell Ballet in D.C. who also performed with the school two years ago, will join the show as the Sugar Plum Fairy’s cavalier along with three other young men playing parts of the Nutcracker, the Snow King and Fritz.
While this is only the 8th Nutcracker recital the Shepherdstown School of Dance has performed since it opened, “on the one hand, it feels like we just started yesterday. On the other, it feels like we’ve been at it forever,” Romine said.
To the young girls who will be performing in the production, as dancers and when they have been viewers, it is awe-inspiring.
“It feels like you’re in it when you’re watching it,” Alexandra Stuart, 8, said, and two other students at the dance school chimed in by saying, “it feels happy,” and “everyone in the cast feels so important.”
“This is a great production for the school to perform each year because the girls grow and move through the ranks. Everyone dreams about playing certain roles,” such as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and these performances give them something to work toward, Romine said.
The school started out with one spring performance a year for the first two years of its existence. Since then, it has added The Nutcracker and upper level dancers attend the West Virginia Dance Festival in Charleston.
Coming to Shepherdstown to watch The Nutcracker performed by the dancers at the school is an absolute treat, according to Romine.
“Christmas in Shepherdstown is magical in and of itself, and watching The Nutcracker in the midst of it … what more could you want?” Romine said.
Furthermore, the dancers at the school and additional male roles are not the only ones performing in the recital. In the party scene, many community members, including some parents of dancers, play parents during that section of the production.
The performance is approximately two hours long, and it will be accompanied by the traditional Tchaikovsky musical score.