City Ballet stages its annual 'Nutcracker' ballet
Kallie Green of Williamsport is slipping back on her ballet slippers and party dress to play the iconic Clara in “The Nutcracker.”
And the 12-year-old is already a veteran having played it last year for The City Ballet School and Western Maryland City Ballet Company’s production. This year she’ll play the little girl who receives the gift of a Nutcracker in two performances this year — at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 — at The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown.
Playing Clara, Kallie said, has helped her blossom as a dancer and a person. and because, she said, she’s played her, she can focus more on the character and less on the choreography because, for the most part, it’s the same for her.
“I love that dancing allows me to be able to express myself,” she said.
She said it’s been fun playing Clara because she too is a “whimsical person.”
And that’s why the Springfield Middle School seventh-grader said she enjoys playing her every year.
This year, however, will be her last year as Clara, as she will outgrow the character. However, she has her sights set on one day playing the Dew Drop Fairy or being a Spanish soloist.
Kallie said what she loves about dancing in “The Nutcracker” is that each dancer gets to express a different character through dance.
“I love in ‘The Nutcracker’ that each character has a different set of emotions,” she said.
Just starting his dancing career is John Wrobleski Jr., 5, of Frederick, Md., who plays one of the many baby mice. The Yellow Springs Elementary School kindergartener is part of the production because his mom, Amy, is ballet mistress.
J.J., as he’s called, said he likes the costume, which are complete with ears and little snouts and whiskers. He said he’s been dancing since he thinks he was 3 years old.
He said he also likes being on stage.
“I’m the first one you see when we come from behind the couch,” he said.
As for “The Nutcracker,” J.J. said he “loves a lot of it.”
Shaelyn Kaiser, 18, is a senior at James Buchanan High School in Mercersburg, Pa.
This will be her final production of “The Nutcracker,” as she will graduate high school this year.
For her final bow, she dances several characters, but mainly the Rat Queen as well as a Russian soloist and in the Snow and Flower corps.
Shaelyn, who hopes to double major in modern dance and history in college, said she loves this version of “The Nutcracker.”
“I feel like with ‘The Nutcracker’ is really is a light ballet,” she said.
She compares it to the darker ballets of “Swan Lake” and “Romeo and Juliet,” where characters die.
“The only conflict really is in the battle scenes,” she said.
That doesn’t mean, however, that her characters aren’t interesting. Take for instance, the Rat Queen, who she’s doing for the third time.
She said her character tends to have a lot of mood changes.
“One minute she’s angry, the next moment she’s primping,” she said.
Shaelyn said she’s so unlike her character, and that is why she likes playing her.
“She’s always angry and yelling at people and that’s not me, so it’s fun playing a mean person,” she said.
And that’s why Shaelyn said “The Nutcracker” is not only a great introduction to ballet, but also a wonderful production for families to see.
One reason it’s good for everyone is that behind the scenes, the group is one big family, she said.
“I’ve grown up with these girls from eighth to 12th grades, and we hang out outside the studio and after school. I really spend more time with them than I do with people I go to school with,” she said.
That’s also a reason why it’s going to be sad to say goodbye to everyone at the school. But, she said, it’ll all be worth it at the end.
“It’s going to a wonderful show,” she said.
Top photo: Kailee Green, center, is surrounded by rats in "The Nutcracker." (Photo by Jonathan Pentz)