Friday, February 23, 2024

The Wenatchee Nutcracker prepares suite for the sweet

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WENATCHEE – The Wenatchee Valley Symphony Orchestra and Fabulous Feet Wenatchee have teamed up for another production of The Wenatchee Nutcracker, a collaboration that has been in effect since 2013 but is part of a decades old regional tradition.

Ballet Theatre Northwest founder, Joan Shelton-Mason, staged annual productions of "The Nutcracker” for many years before her passing. She taught dance for over 60 years, and is often credited with having brought ballet to the Wenatchee Valley. 

The Wenatchee Nutcracker has carried on this treasured tradition since its inception in 2007. This year’s production features student performers ranging in ages 4-18, with 91 dancers overall. There are additionally 12 adult volunteer performers who hold both acting and dancing roles.

There are many iterations of “The Nutcracker” ballets often performing variations to a set choreography. That said, Fabulous Feet Wenatchee’s own instructors and choreographers are credited with the original choreography found in productions of The Wenatchee Nutcracker.

Fabulous Feet studio Owner and Director, Tracy Trotter, and Co-Director and Instructor, Melissa Miller Port, constructed the original concept for this year’s production. 

Annual auditions for The Wenatchee Nutcracker are open to the community, not solely Fabulous Feet students, though most are involved. All who want to participate are welcome, with auditions held typically in July and primarily serving to help in designating roles.

Rehearsals begin in September. Performers meet every week up until opening, with student rehearsals held on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For any large scene work, dancers are broken up into groups and then slowly integrated together until they can cohesively perform through the entire show.

All other additional preparations begin in September. The sets for The Wenatchee Nutcracker are reused annually and maintained by their staff at the studio and the Numerica Performing Arts Center. Costumes are kept on hand, and altered to fit new students each year with the help of many volunteers.

The Wenatchee Nutcracker has a wardrobe of close to 300 costumes due to the volume of students they have, some of the older students playing 2-5 roles. Their youngest students are angels and the mice, and as they age take on more and more additional roles.

Some of the characters students may play include the Snow Queen, snow princesses, icicles, flurries, snowflakes, and demi-snowflakes (students on the younger end who are not quite old enough to be snowflakes, demi-snowflakes are skilled midway between point and flat). Snowflakes dance on point. 

Co-Director Tracy Trotter is Mother Ginger and has been playing this role since The Wenatchee Nutcracker began. This year’s production will see the exciting addition of two new characters,  Mother Ginger’s sisters, Ms. Cinnamon and Ms. Nutmeg. Additionally, this version of the Nutcracker will feature a Lead Angel who descends from the Christmas tree. 

The addition of characters are not the only new elements audience members may have to look forward to this year. Katie Spurbeck-Perez, Office Manager, Instructor, and first ever Clara for The Wenatchee Nutcracker shares, “We’re really excited for another good year, and we’re going to have new enhancements for the tree that grows during the battle scene as well, so we’re really just excited about everything.”

For a sneak preview of what magic The Wenatchee Nutcracker brings us this season, they will be performing an excerpt from the ballet as part of Holiday Spice, a review featuring a variety of regional talents at the Numerica Performing Arts Center on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. 

Dates for The Wenatchee Nutcracker are Dec. 7, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 9 and 10 at 2 p.m., performances held at the Numerica Performing Arts Center located at 123 N. Wenatchee Ave, Wenatchee, WA 98801. Performances are 90 minutes.  

 

All ticket sales are through the Numerica Performing Arts Center. Tickets can either be purchased in person or by calling the NPAC box office at (509) 663-ARTS. 

Katie Lindert: 509-731-3211 or katie@ward.media

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