Newton students perform in Nutcracker production

Annika Yoder, Reporter

Every other year, Newton Dance Connections puts on their version of the famous ballet, The Nutcracker. Dancers from two local dance studios unite to put on the classic show that first began back in 1892. This version is unique from the other productions of the show to better fit the dancers and the audience that comes to watch.

“I love participating in the Nutcracker because it is so fun to be able to work with BCAPA every other year and it is always great to see some familiar faces every time we do it,” senior Tabitha Buffalo said.

Newton Dance Connections consists of two local dance studios, Newton Performing Arts Center and the Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts. Dancers and teachers at each of the studios come together to put on the performance. People look forward to performing, teaching and watching the Nutcracker every time it comes around.

“I am looking forward to performing and being able to put the whole show together,” junior Eliza Epp said. “I love being able to watch the whole performance after it is all over when the video is released.”

This year the Nutcracker took place in the auditorium at Valley Center Middle School on Dec. 3 and 4. Tickets were available for purchase at $15 for an adult and $10 for a child to come watch any of the three performances. The Nutcracker is known to be appealing for audience members due to its familiar storyline. The Newton production does its best to include a variety of styles of dance, so that everyone will have the opportunity to find one they like to watch.

Caleb Smith

I like that the Newton production incorporates other styles than just ballet because I feel like it suits our particular audience best,” Buffalo said.

The version of the Nutcracker put on by Newton Dance Connections includes a variety of styles of dance that go beyond just the traditional ballet. This year’s production in particular included ballet and pointe, tap, Irish, modern and acrobatics. 

“My favorite style of dance to do in the Nutcracker is ballet and pointe,” Epp said. “I especially love the part I have in the Nutcracker right now as one of the Arch Angels. It is my favorite part I have ever had in the Nutcracker.”

The Nutcracker includes parts for kids of all ages. You will likely see teenage dancers dancing as one of the featured parts, like the Sugar Plum Fairy or the Snow Queen while the younger kids might get a part as one of the Gingerbread Cookies or as one of the children in the party scene. One of Newton Dance Connections main goals is making an environment where everyone gets the chance to dance in the Nutcracker. 

“I loved dancing in the Nutcracker when I was little,” Epp said. “I loved watching the older girls get the main parts and seeing how well they danced and now I am old enough to get to do the parts [in the Nutcracker] I have always wanted to do.”

Although many dancers at NPAC and BCAPA participate in the Nutcracker, the choreographers and studio owners are always happy to welcome any new dancers who would like to participate. Most of the dancers who have done Nutcracker in the past encourage anyone who is thinking about participating to do it for the next show. 

Caleb Smith

I definitely encourage other dancers to audition for the Nutcracker because it is such a great experience. Everyone that participates is super supportive and truly like a family,” Buffalo said. “It is also a great way to celebrate the popular holiday tradition as well.”

The dancers say they have had great memories from doing the Nutcracker throughout the years. The older dancers have a lot of great experiences with dancing with the other area studio dancers and getting to know people better through participating. The dancers also have really enjoyed getting to dance in the show and continuing to further their dancing.

“One of my favorite memories from Nutcracker would be my 8th grade year. It was my first year doing Nutcracker on pointe and during dress rehearsal we were all sitting in a circle just talking when someone had to run back to the dressing room to tell us that they had been waiting for us to go on,” Buffalo said.