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Presented by The Central Ohio Youth Ballet
Licking County tradition continues with many new and exciting elements
Central Ohio Youth Ballet’s The Nutcracker returns to the Midland Theatre this Thanksgiving weekend. In its 19th year, this year’s production tells the classic holiday tale with new choreography and costumes. An annual tradition in Licking County since 1994, The Nutcracker brings together talented student dancers from nearly a dozen studios. Working with these dancers of varying abilities and levels, artistic director Robert Cole and assistant artistic director Erika Twining draw out each individual’s strengths, resulting in a professional quality production.
“Rehearsals for the Nutcracker and spring performance are like summer camp in that they bring youth from many different backgrounds together in an experience that is both educational and fun,” says Mr. Cole. Forty-three youth dancers, 4 adult dancers and 12 adult actors from across Licking, Knox, Fairfield, Muskingham, Perry, Coshocton and Franklin counties have been rehearsing for The Nutcracker since the first week in September.
This year, the artistic directors wanted to give more dancers an opportunity to have a featured role, which resulted in much of the choreography being updated to fit the uniqueness of the dancers. One example is the exotic Arabian piece. The choreography is almost entirely new, featuring complex lifts and a contemporary ballet style.
Younger dancers have a chance to shine in the Shortbreads scene, with the addition of two young bakers who mix up adorable “cookies” who they dance with in a pas de deux.
This year Nolie Wagner of Granville and Taryn Benson of Mount Vernon will be dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. They will be partnered by guest artist and longtime COYB dancer Drew Holderman of Newark. The role of Clara will be performed by Madison Weisend of Newark and Samantha Berry of Johnstown. The role of the Prince is being performed by Max Berry of Johnstown.