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Timeless Nutcracker Ballet this weekend

By Staff | Dec 16, 2016

One of the most familiar sounds of the Christmas season is Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite; a perennial favorite for generations.

Allegro Dance studio is offering the popular ballet in two performances on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Wright Denny Intermediate School, 209 W. Congress Street, Charles Town.

Studio owner and choreographer, Lindsey Knott likes to change things up a bit each year. The roles in the Nutcracker can be varied requiring different movements and dance styles. Knott casts the roles to play to the strengths of her dancers. She also changes some of the choreography to keep things new and fresh.

“I always change the choreography for the dancer. Each dancer has things that they do really well, and it might not be the same things,” said Knott. “As a choreographer, I don’t like re-doing things. It gets stagnant and old. I feel like when the dancers have something new that’s not too rehearsed, it just looks more lively. Also, I might have a dancer that really deserves the role of sugar plum, but maybe she doesn’t do fouettes (a particular type of ‘whipped’ turn) as well. We can leave that out and choreograph something else for her. Being able to be flexible is one of the keys to being a small studio owner.”

The students try out for the various Nutcracker roles, and Knott likes to reward hard work and good attitude over a student’s ability to perform certain movements.

“That way everyone gets a chance to be whatever part they’d like to be,” continued Knott. “If they come to class and work really hard, and they have good attendance, anyone can get Sugar Plum-and they know that. They know that I will choreograph it for them. I do make sure our seniors, especially, have an opportunity to get a special part.”

High school senior, Alexa Hall is dancing the role of Clara this year. Hall, who has been attending Allegro since she was three years old says Clara is her favorite role so far.

“I love playing the part of Clara. It’s such a cool story-everything that she goes through. It’s a beautiful role and I feel elegant when I’m doing it.”

Hall will be moving on to college next year and would like to continue dancing as a hobby and to stay in shape, but she’s enjoying her time at Allegro while she still can. One of the things Hall appreciates about the studio is how inclusive they are.

“The studio is so welcoming,” said Hall. We love having new people and it’s a good environment for people of all abilities-like with our ‘Gotta Dance’ class (a movement class for special needs kids). I’ve been able to work with a little girl in that class who has problems with her feet. It’s been so enjoyable and a real learning experience for me.”

Hall is one of four seniors to be performing this year. Anna Park, will be dancing the role of Rat Queen, Elise Elliot, is Dew Drop, and Katie Hoffman is playing the roles of both the Sugar Plum Fairy and Drosselmeyer, Clara’s eccentric and mystical uncle.

Alexa’s sister, Alley Hall, who is a freshman at Blue Ridge, majoring in culinary arts is playing the part of the Nutcracker Prince.

Tickets are $15, and will be available at the door, cash or credit card, until sold out.