Local dancers set to perform in The Nutcracker

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Eleven-year-old Sackville dancer Miriam Dysart will play the lead role of Clara in Saturday afternoon’s performance of The Nutcracker. TOWER PHOTO

SACKVILLE, N.B. – The Nutcracker will return to the stage of Sackville’s Convocation Hall once again this year.

Dancers from the Atlantic Dance Academy are set to perform in their annual Christmas production of the holiday classic this Saturday, Dec. 7, where audiences of all ages can expect to be enchanted by this magical story told through the art of ballet.

Dina Leisch, head mistress of the dance academy based in Amherst, said this year will be the academy’s seventh year putting on this show and each year the show just keeps getting better and better as there is always something new and exciting each and every time.

Leisch said the dancers, many of them from the Sackville and Port Elgin areas, begin preparing for the production starting in September and rehearse right up until the day of the show in December – including intensive two-and-three hour rehearsals five or six nights a week in the last month leading up to the big day.

“The students are making enormous progress,” she said. “They’re all doing amazing.”

Leisch said The Nutcracker is a stunning ballet production, featuring a mix of compelling music, colorful costumes and intricate dance movements, which is likely why so many dance companies all around the world – from New York to London to Paris – continue to put on the show each Christmas.

“It’s a classic, it’s become a tradition,” she said.

The Atlantic Dance Academy will put on two performances of The Nutcracker on Saturday, a matinee at 2 p.m. and an evening show at 6 p.m., which tells the story of Clara, the little girl who falls asleep on Christmas Eve and dreams that she's in a world where toys become larger than life. She meets up with the Nutcracker Prince who defends her from the Mouse King.

Playing in the lead role of Clara during the afternoon performance will be Sackville dancer Miriam Dysart.

“I’m so excited but I’m also very nervous because we’re going to be performing in front of hundreds of people,” said Dysart during a recent rehearsal.

At 11 years old, Dysart has been a student of the Atlantic Dance Academy for the past four years, mostly focusing on ballet. ADA also offers classes, from beginner to advanced levels, in jazz, hip hop, modern and tap dancing.

Dysart said she’s excited to play the lead this year, sharing the role with her friend and fellow dancer Abbey Letcher from Amherst, who will be playing Clara during the evening show.

“I like how it’s a big role. I get to dance lots and I really like the puffy dresses,” she said.

Dysart said she loves The Nutcracker ballet as it is filled with so many great scenes and amazing dancing.

Also participating in the show from the Tantramar region is a family of seven from Port Elgin – which includes Marco Onichino, Mahalia Thompson-Onichino, Noah Onichino, Marissa LeFurgey, Rebecca LeFurgey, Luciano Onichino and Sarah Onichino, who are all taking on various roles.

Other local dancers featured in the production will be: Caylin Carson, Ava Carson, Brittany Carlson, Emily Carlson, Kylie Carlson, Nick Carlson, Skyler Duchemin, Peyton Beaver, Becky Gould, Lise Surette, Layne Acton and Moira Inglis.

For more information or tickets, call 506-224-0314 or e-mail Atl.dance.academy@mac.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the studio at 106 Church Street or at the door during the day of the show.

Organizations: Atlantic Dance Academy

Geographic location: Amherst, Port Elgin, New York London Paris Tantramar Church Street

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