When it comes to things kids are into these days, you might not suspect the fine arts — and ballet in particular — to rank as high as TikTok, Fortnite or even good old fashioned football. But you’d never know that from the reactions on the faces of kids at Harmony School, where dancers in Wallace State Community College’s upcoming Nutcracker production drew plenty of oohs and aahs — and tons of spontaneous applause from little hands.
A breakaway contingent from Wallace State’s troupe of performers has been touring local schools giving students a sneak peek at what to expect from its upcoming performance of Nutcracker — Clara’s Dream, and it was Harmony’s turn on Thursday. Before the music began, Wallace State dance instructor Brooke Desnoës told the young audience it was perfectly okay to clap if they saw something they liked — and for the next 30 minutes, the dancing was punctuated by plenty of it.
Wallace State’s fine arts department is hoping to scale up precisely that kind of crowd response when it debuts Nutcracker — Clara’s Dream on Nov. 22 and 23. The all-ages production will stage one evening performance at 7 p.m. each day, with general admission tickets priced at $10 per person.
More interesting, perhaps, for the kids who’ve already previewed the show is a special event that — like meeting a Disney princess — can get them up close and personal with the cast. At 4 p.m. on Nov. 23 before the show, Wallace State will host Clara’s Tea Party, a $40 per-person special-access session that also covers the cost of a ticket to the performance itself.
“Guests will enjoy meeting their favorite characters from the Kingdom of Sweets, arts and crafts activity, participate in a choreography from the ballet, will learn fun facts about the ballet’s unique history and enjoy an elegantly seated tea and tasty sweets,” says Wallace State. “There will be plenty of photo and autograph opportunities with Clara and her special friends — so bring your camera!”
All performances of Nutcracker — Clara’s Dream will be held at the Evelyn Burrow Center for Fine and Performing Arts on the Wallace State campus. For more information, follow the department by simply searching “Wallace State Dance” on Facebook.
Benjamin Bullard can be reached by phone at 256-734-2131 ext. 145.