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Falcon Quill

The student news site of Fort Worth Country Day

Falcon Quill

The student news site of Fort Worth Country Day

Falcon Quill

FWCD Ballet Kicks Off The Holiday Season

Natalie+Bracken%2C+ballet+and+theater+teacher%2C+demonstrates+a+dance+move+to+Evi+Scaling+Brown+24.
Carrie Cheng
Natalie Bracken, ballet and theater teacher, demonstrates a dance move to Evi Scaling Brown ’24.

What makes the holiday season feel like the holiday season? A crisp breeze and colder weather? Starbucks  peppermint mochas? STUCO decorating the Upper School commons? For many ballet dancers, the first indicator of the holidays is the beginning of Nutcracker rehearsals.

Hearing the same songs of sugar plums and mirlitons, practicing pirouette after pirouette for Dewdrop or Clara. It really feels like the most wonderful time of year.

“Nutcracker is always one of my favorite times of the year, because something about this ballet is so magical, and it brings the holiday spirit,” Sophia Jiang ‘26 said.

This winter, the FWCD Ballet program will put on a production of the Nutcracker. Opening night will be 7pm on Friday, December 8, and there will be two more performances at 2pm and 7pm the next day, Saturday the 9th. 

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This ballet is only performed every other year, because it rotates with the FWCD Ballet Conservatory, an extracurricular program that Fort Worth Country Day offers. In years prior both ballet programs performed the Nutcracker every winter. Now it is too large of a production, so one company will perform the Nutcracker while the other has a winter recital, and they will switch each year.

The ballet is almost entirely the same every year, from the characters and costumes to the choreography and Tchaikovsky music itself. And, of course, the plot.

The story of the Nutcracker is based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s book, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” It follows a young girl named Clara who is gifted a nutcracker doll by her godfather, the illusive Drosselmeyer, at her family’s Christmas party. Her brother, Fritz, tries to steal it from her and ends up breaking the doll, which leads a crying Clara to exit the party. 

Later that night, she falls into a deep sleep and dreams of a fight between her precious nutcracker and the rat King. The nutcracker returns the victor, and he leads Clara through a fantasy world of sweets. She meets the Spanish dancers, Russian dancers, Chinese dancers, candy canes, flowers, Dewdrop, and finally the Sugar Plum fairy. The sweets all come together in the end and convince young Clara to go back home, and the ballet ends with mysterious Drosselmeyer holding the nutcracker.

Clara will be played by Charli Pickard ’28 and Ivy Sullivan ‘29, Fritz will be Cormac Dollahite ’30, and their grandma is Samantha Saade ’26. The dolls are Sophia Jiang ’26, Evi Scaling Brown ’24, Sophia Garcia ’25, and Samantha Saade ’26. (They will rotate rolls for each performance.)

“I’m really excited to get to do a pas de deux again. The grand pas de deux is one of my favorite dances and classical pieces of music, so I’m really excited to get to dance to that,” Jane Shelton ‘24 said.

The Snow Queen will be played by Carolina Murrin ’24, Dewdrop by Lily Hyde ’24, and Sugar Plum by Jane Shelton ’24.

There will also be some adults, like Natalie Bracken, ballet and theater teacher, Erin Ypya, Choir and Show Choir Director, and a few other FWCD parents and dance teachers in the opening Party Scene.

These dancers have been rehearsing five days a week since September, and their hard work has certainly paid off. There are four seniors this year: Jane Shelton ’24, Carolina Murrin ’24, Lily Hyde ’24, and Evi Scaling Brown ’24. This is all of their last time in the Nutcracker, so don’t miss a chance to see them.

If you aren’t able to come to the evening performances of December 8 and 9 or the matinee on December 9, you needn’t fret, for the ballet program will put on a spring performance in April.

The Nutcracker will only last about one hour and a half, and it is a great way to spend your night, so take a break from studying for midterms and get into the holiday spirit. Chemistry can wait. 

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About the Contributor
GiGi Schueneman, Life & Arts Editor
Gigi Schueneman is a sophomore at Fort Worth Country Day. When she is not in a class or dancing with the FWCD Ballet Conservatory, she loves to watch "Gossip Girl." She looks forward to the days that she is studying at Yale or playing with her bunnies in her future NYC penthouse. But for now, she likes to spend her time listening to music and organizing Pinterest boards in her bedroom. Gigi is so excited for her second year on the Quill!
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