DDC Continues “Nutcracker” Ballet Tradition


by Terry Rogers 


In addition to renovating and moving into a new dance studio, Diamond Dance Company will present the “Nutcracker” at Lake Forest High School December 6th and 7th. Aimee String, one of the directors at Diamond Dance Company and Tatiana Akinfieva Dance Academy (TADA), explained that transitioning to a new theater has brought up some unique challenges.

“We have to change up some staging and choreography but our dancers and parents have been incredibly supportive,” String said. “We are really excited and proud of what the audience will see on the stage.”


Misty Yencer, another director, felt that the biggest challenge this year was not only choreographing for a new stage but also transitioning and moving into a new building during prime rehearsal and training time.

At the center of the party scene during the production, there is a huge Christmas tree that is supposed to grow, String explained. This year, a brand new tree that one of the board members has been working on will be part of the scene. String and Yencer explained that they have also freshened up some choreography and costumes to keep things fresh and exciting.

“The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition to not only the dance world but to so many families around the world,” Yencer said. “Christmas just doesn’t seem complete without it.”

“The Sugar Plum Fairy has always been my dream role and I never would have imagined getting it,” Aidan Robbins, 15, said. “It has helped me grow and improve a lot and work super hard and I’m really grateful to be able to perform this role. I try my hardest to show my love and passion for dance. I want to connect with the audience and I want them to be entertained. My hope is by showing them my unconditional love for dance that they will share the joy with me.”

Robbins explained that it takes a lot to put on a production with endless rehearsals and dancing that can be very difficult.

“It’s exhausting but in the end, very rewarding,” Robbins said. “For me, the most rewarding part is performing. All the dancers work incredibly hard and to be on stage and entertain the audience and just have fun is such an amazing feeling and it makes every part of the process from auditions to the show worth it.”

Jillian Kerr, age 17, will play the Snow Queen in this year’s production, a role she performed for the first time when she was in 8th grade. She hopes to give the role a new twist this year.

“I make this part my own by trying to do light and graceful movements, like a snowflake,” Kerr said. “Also, this year, the pas de deux has some new choreography that I’m very excited to perform. The most challenging part is waving ‘goodbye’ to Clara at the end of the show. After working so hard for so long, we just want to keep dancing and performing and are sad to see the show end. But, we are very excited to start or spring new productions. The most rewarding part is probably seeing everything come together. From the in-studio rehearsals, to onstage dress rehearsals and finally show day, each run is fresh and exciting. It’s also amazing to see the audience’s response to what we have worked so hard on.”

Emma Moorman, age 16, will also dance the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy and says that the part is special to her because of how hard she worked to get the role. She explained that Sugar Plum is the highest role you can get in the Nutcracker and to be able to perform it will be a challenge and an honor.

“I try to make this part my own by portraying my feeling of excitement on the stage to the audience so they feel the same joy I feel,” Moorman said. “The most challenging part is the stamina of Sugar Plum. There are three different arts to Sugar Plum and I have worked very hard to build up my stamina and I feel ready to perform as best I can for the shows. The most rewarding part is knowing that all the rehearsals paid off and that I feel good about my performances. The feeling of the curtain closing at the end of the show and feeling confident in my performance is very rewarding.”

The role of Clara will be played by Gabby Morgan who is 12, a role she says is special to her because it is her first lead and she has dreamed of being Clara ever since she attended her first DDC Nutcracker when she was just six years old.

“I make this part my own by showcasing my personality and love for dance,” Morgan said. “The most challenging part for me in being in the Nutcracker are the rehearsals since I am the only Clara this year so I dance in both casts and have to work hard to apply corrections. The most rewarding part of being Clara in the Nutcracker is knowing that if you work hard enough you can accomplish your goals.”

The Nutcracker will be performed by Diamond Dance Company on Friday, December 6 at 7 PM and on Saturday, December 7 at 2 and 7 PM. Tickets may be purchased at www.tututix.com/southerndelawareballet.