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Dancer recreate Christmas classic

By Staff | Dec 9, 2011

The Shepherdstown School of Dance will perform ‘The Nutcracker’ Saturday and Sunday at the Frank Arts Center. Pictured are dancers Abigail Dumas, right, and Jamie Wolf rehearsing. (Chronicle photo by Kelly Cambrel)

The students at Shepherdstown School of Dance prepare to perform a season favorite with their production of “The Nutcracker” ballet.

Emily Romine, the school’s artistic director, said that audiences can look forward to a ballet filled with “action and magic.”

According to Romine, who co-founded the dance school in 2003 with Mercedes Prohaska, “The Nutcracker” is one of the school’s biggest productions each year.

Romine explained that being in Shepherdstown has given the school a unique advantage, as demonstrated by its holiday production.

“We have the unique opportunity to put together a full-length story ballet in a professional theater.”

She added, “That’s unique to Shepherdstown. We feel very lucky to be here.”

The show, which will be performed for its fifth year, will include special guest professional dancer Jamie Wolf of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, out of Washington, D.C., and will showcase dance school students from 5 to 18 years old.

Prohaska, who helped co-found the dance school in order to give her daughter a place to take lessons in town, said that this year’s performance will provide the audience with something new.

“I think the battle scene is really exciting and special this year,” she said.

The battle scene will feature Shepherdstown residents Emily Baker, 15, as the Mouse King and Dominic Massimino, 16, in the title role of the Nutcracker.

Baker said the battle scene can be characterized by its energy.

“We really try to bring a lot of intensity to it,” she said.

Massimino said he was excited because the scene gives the dancers an opportunity to do something more dramatic than usual.

“There’s a lot more hand-to-hand combat…There’s a bit of improv,” he said.

Prohaska, who grew up dancing and going to see “The Nutcracker” with her family, said she considers the ballet a longstanding holiday tradition.

“It wouldn’t be Christmas without ‘The Nutcracker’,” she said.

Shepherdstown resident Frank Dubay said he’s seen the Shepherdstown School of Dance’s performance of “The Nutcracker” four times.

Dubay said that he thinks the students’ high energy and dedication sets their production apart from others he’s seen.

“I will drive miles to see this performance,” he said.

The show will take place at the Frank Center for the Arts on Shepherd University’s campus on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $13 in advance or $18 at the door and can be purchased at Encore Apparel in Motion. For more information call 304-876-3040.