JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — A holiday staple returns to Jamestown this weekend, as the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet performs The Nutcracker.
Organizers say the Tchaikovsky classic is one of the biggest shows of the year.
“It’s almost a whole year production almost. We start thinking and talking and preparing in September, even August sometimes. Because we have our big spring gala in June, and after that is over we’re already thinking and talking about The Nutcracker. It takes a lot of work and time,” explains Artistic and School Director Monika Alch.
Auditions began in September, and as soon as the cast is chosen, it is full steam ahead for rehearsals.
“From little snippets of the show at first working with individual people as well, especially our soloists. And then slowly building the scenes together until we get to full act runthorughs and finally a full show runthrough before we hit the theater,’ says faculty member Megan Stefanik.
Some cast members are as young as four-years-old.
“It takes a lot of work, a lot of practice, and hopefully you have the talent and everything that goes with it,” says Alch.
This will be Director Monika Alch’s 23rd year putting on The Nutcracker, and she hopes that the community will continue making it a tradition to attend.
“The Nutcracker is a very traditional beloved Christmas story that all starts with a little Chridtmas Eve party that Clara’s parents are throwing and her uncle Drosselmeyer comes in and brings some presents, one of which is the nutcracker in its wooden toy form. And that really kick starts off the whole show and as we can preview, there’s quite some magic in the show so things start to come to life and we grow and enter a land of sweets in the second act which is always so fun for the kids to be a part of,” says Stefanik.
Megan Stefanik, who took the stage in past performances, now plays a much larger role in the production.
“Megan was like this when she started with me and now look at her, she’s our Snow Queen and she’s a wonderful dancer who graduated from Point Park in Pittsburgh and now she’s with us and helping us and I of course appreciated very much,” says Alch.
Stefanik says that being able to teach the students is the most rewarding aspect of her career.
There will be a performance Saturday, December 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Professional dancers from Festival Ballet Providence Alex Lantz and Kirsten Evans will also be performing in the ballet.