Diamond Dance Company will host their 16th annual performance of The Nutcracker Ballet on the first weekend of December at the Milford Senior High School Auditorium. The public performances this year will be held on Saturday and Sunday, December 6 and 7. As in years past the dance company will also hold two performances for area school children and senior citizens from nearby assisted living facilities on the Friday before the public performance.
The Diamond Dance Company is a non profit organization comprised of ballet students in the Kent and Sussex County areas. Over these past years, Diamond Dance Company has introduced 30,000 thousand school children to share in the magic of this seasonal favorite. This year, the Company opened their new school in downtown Milford. Dedicated to continuing the legacy of its co-founder Tatiana Akinviev-Smith, TADA (Tatiana Akinviev Dance Academy) brings together many of her former students throughout the state of Delaware and gives the opportunity for new students to engage in the brilliance and artistry of dance.
The performance this year is led by Juliana Warnock dancing as Clara and Arlene Maheu playing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Nutcracker Ballet is the story of a small girl who experiences an adventure in a dream-like world at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve. Toys, ornaments and animals come alive as Clara attempts to rescue her nutcracker that was given to her as a Christmas present.
Director, Misty Yencer, is honored to continue the legacy of her grandmother Tatiana Akinviev-Smith, co-founder of Diamond Dance Company, and excited to see dancers coming back year after year to strengthen the company. “Over the years we have gone through a lot of changes but the one thing that has been constant is staying true to my grandmother’s choreography,” commented Yencer. “We want the audience to make a connection to the dance movement and story line. It’s a magical moment and it really gets you in the holiday spirit, thinking about family and fun.”
Eleven-year-old Juliana Warnock will dance the lead role of Clara for all four performances. This marks the eighth year that Jillian has been with Diamond Dance Company and her fist time playing Clara in the The Nutcracker performance. “I am so happy to be a part of this performance and be dancing with all of my friends,” said Warnock. “Clara is very happy as she is on her journey through the dream world and it is such an honor for me to perform this part.”
The role of the Sugar Plum Fairy will be performed by Arlene Maheu. Maheu was honored with the Distinguished Young Woman of Delaware award in 2014, competing in the preliminary competition to the national program known as Distinguished Young Women. She has been a member of DDC in Milford for the past three seasons portraying the lead roles of Snow Queen in the Nutcracker and Scarecrow and Dorothy in DDC’s Wizard of Oz Ballet.
With a focus on bringing male dancers into the school, DDC will be featuring several young men in the performance including ten-year-old Thomas Vasquez, who will be playing the Russian Boy. Learning mainly a hip-hop style of dance over the last three years, Vasquez is excited for the ballet performance. “I have never really been in a ballet performance and I am looking forward to getting better in ballet,” he said. “It’s fun because I get to do things I have never tried before.
The public performances of The Nutcracker will be on Saturday, December 6 at 7 pm and on Sunday, December 7 at 2 pm. The performances will be held in the auditorium at Milford Senior High School. For additional information on the performance and to purchase tickets, individuals can visit www.southerndelawareballet.com.