DDA To Perform Jazz Nutcraker

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Top Row L-R:Jill Wilkins 15, Kristen Greenly 12, Allison Wilkins 17, Katie Fields, 15, Jessica Jones, Ema Plump 15, Taylor Hogan, 13, Hope Wright 17 Middle: Blayke Cawby 11, Owen Lawson 14, Tyler Wright 12 Bottom: Lily Walton 12, Lizzy Howell 13, Liz Nielsen 12
Top Row L-R:Jill Wilkins 15, Kristen Greenly 12, Allison Wilkins 17, Katie Fields, 15, Jessica Jones, Ema Plump 15, Taylor Hogan, 13, Hope Wright 17
Middle: Blayke Cawby 11, Owen Lawson 14, Tyler Wright 12
Bottom: Lily Walton 12, Lizzy Howell 13, Liz Nielsen 12

On November 8 at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover, DE, students of Delaware Dance Alliance (DDA) along with Delaware dance companies from each county including Ballet Theatre of Dover, Delaware Arts Conservatory, Delaware Ballet and Sussex Ballet will combine to offer performances inspired by the big band era along with comical, classical dance entertainment.

DDA, which has performed “Twilight Ballet” and “Pirates of the Caribbean Ballet” the past two springs at the Schwartz Center for the Arts, will be presenting The Nutcracker Suite, as arranged by Duke Ellington. In this version, Clara is celebrating her birthday with friends as they run into some lads on their way for a night on the town. The merry group goes to a 1940’s cabaret, where they are entertained by some amazing performers including Chinoiserie, Arabesque Cookie, Toot Toot Tootie and Sugar Rum Cherry.

Artistic Director Michele Xiques, an award winning choreographer recognized by the Delaware Division of The Arts, has choreographed this new show drawing from classical ballet, traditional jazz, swing, and a few fun twists. Michelle pulls from her experiences as a professional performer to offer a wonderful blend of influences in dance styles.

“We really wanted to do something different for the local community,” commented Michele Xiques, Director of Delaware Dance Alliance. “There are a lot of performances of The Nutcracker across the state and I wanted to offer a performance that highlights the experience of the dancers.”

The Jazz Nutcracker is graced with all of the fanciful characters in the original classic, but the roles are changed and a few surprise guests arrive along the way. This engaging local production includes a variety of twists and turns and wonderful surprises as Clara, her father and friends travel through a whimsical journey filled with drama, suspense, laughter, fun and of course dancing.

Katie Fields, a student at Sussex Tech High School, will be performing the lead role of Clara in the Duke Ellington adaptation. Dancing a role written for an older dancer, Fields will rely on her 12 years of dancing experience as she has performed with First State Dance Academy (FSDA) for the last four years taking part in Pirates of the Caribbean and Pippi Longstocking.

“It is very exciting playing the role of Clara,” said Fields. “ It is her birthday and she is energetic and has high energy.”

Allison Wilkins, a senior at Milford High School, will be performing the role of Toot Toot Tootie. Wilkins has been dancing for 14 years and joined FSDA this year. She has had fun rehearsing for this performance and enjoys playing her character.

“Tootie gets to interact with the audience, she is really fun and flirty,” said Wilkins. “I am looking forward to seeing all of my friends and family at the Schwartz Center.”
Hope Wright, a senior at Dover High School, will be dancing the role of Sugar Rum Cherry. With 14 years of experience, she is excited to have the opportunity to act, dancing with a personality much different than her own.

“[Sugar Rum Cherry] has attitude and personality but is also more sophisticated and mature,” said Wright. “She is a happy character and I am having fun.”

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased in person at the box office or online at www.schwartzcenter.com  Individuals can call First State Dance Academy at (302) 422-2633 or email dedancealliance@verizon.net with any questions.

“It’s a fun way to kick off the holidays,” commented Xiques. “The music is very energetic, engaging and the audience enjoys watching the dancers perform.”

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