A Timeless Tradition

Nolte dancers perform as snowflakes.

Zoë Miller and Theo Prineas

People rush to warmth beneath the glowing lights of the marquee declaring the beloved classic: “The Nutcracker.” For some it is their first time, but for others it is a tradition that brings a smile to their face each year. Inside, people speak in hushed voices as they wait for the performance to begin. The bright eyes of little ones sitting on their parents’ laps twinkle.

“‘The Nutcracker’ is a family tradition for so many,” Leslie Nolte, founder and creative director of Nolte Academy, said. “The community truly comes together to start the holiday season. I love the collaboration of so many groups…dancers, musicians and singers that are all working towards the same goal.”

Nolte Academy has been putting on “The Nutcracker” at the Englert with a live orchestra every year since 2006. City High students Ruby Anderson ‘19 and Mairead Moore ‘18 have been part of this celebrated event numerous times, each time tackling new roles.

“I love [playing] the Sugar Plum Fairy because I love the story behind her,” Ruby Anderson ‘19 said. “The Nutcracker has been under a spell for so long and this queen has been missing her king. So their dance together is their reunion and I think it’s the sweetest thing.”

“The Nutcracker” is a ballet composed of two acts. It tells the story of young girl named Clara who gets a nutcracker for Christmas from her uncle, Drosselmeyer. That night the Nutcracker comes to life and Clara is taken through a decadent adventure in the land of sweets where the Nutcrack

er is reunited with his queen, the Sugar Plum Fairy. The

show is based off of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 fairy tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.

Along with the elegant storyline, the music’s beauty is part of what has made the show so well known.

“Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker [Suite]” is some of the most recognizable music out there. You hear it all the time,” Mairead Moore ‘18, a dancer, said. “Whenever I hear it, I immediately think about the choreography and the memories that surround the production.”

The dancers have been rehearsing to convey the magic of the show since September. They commit 12 long weekends to prepare. Though it makes for a lot of dedication and time, they say the process is rewarding.

“My favorite part of “The Nutcracker” is all of the people and components coming together. Even as dancers, we don’t see all the behind the scenes work,” said Moore. “When we get to the theater there are the lights, the orchestra, the costumes, the other dances, and [when] you step on stage to dance, you remember your love of performing.”

“The Nutcracker” reaches beyond just the dancers, singers and musicians to the audience. Linda Hoel, guidance counselor at City High, reflected on what the show has meant to her.

“I love the Nutcracker music and the dancing,” Hoel said. “I have two granddaughters who have danced in the [show] for years, so I like to come to watch them.”

Overall, the show brings different things to mind for each who has been part of the production or in the audience. For some the show is simply a way to support loved ones and for others it’s a core part of their holiday rituals.

“[‘The Nutcracker’ is] a really positive experience,” Anderson said. “Doing the same thing and making different memories is really fun.”