By Kayla Rivas
Spectators swarmed the Kendall Main Stage Theater in great anticipation for Roxey Ballet’s 23rd annual production of “The Nutcracker,” which ran from Nov. 25 to Dec. 3.
Audience members settled into their seats while two massive cardboard cutouts of nutcrackers stood at the ready on each side of the stage, glaring at the crowd. Green and red spotlights cast onto the theater walls appropriately set the holiday atmosphere.
Throughout the musical, audience members were entertained by the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, which helped enhance the swift, declarative movements of the dancers.
The performance included ballet dancers of all ages, with young children playing the role of “mice,” and senior ballet dancers playing roles like Clara’s godfather, as well as Clara’s other family members, the Stahlbaums.
The winter wonderland ballet scene was particularly engaging, as it whisked the audience away to a land of swirling snowflakes, ice fairy ballerinas and the iconic Sugar Plum Fairy, played by Chanmee Jeong.
During the intermission, audience member Theresa Cipolone commented that she enjoyed Act 1, Scene 2 of the play — the Christmas Eve party.
Cipolone felt that the dancing in the Snow Palace “was beautiful…with the snow coming down it made it feel like a winter wonderland.”
Performers spent weeks of hard work rehearsing the show. Younger dancers spent 12 weeks learning the performance, while the professional dancers practiced for three weeks, according to Mark Roxey, the founding artistic director of the ballet company.
The stage performance brought tears to Roxey’s eyes since “the audience was amazing and appreciative.”
Roxey founded the organization 24 years ago along with his wife, Melissa.
As a non-profit organization, Roxey emphasized it was all “about community.”
There were also dancers with disabilities in the show, according to Roxey.
“It’s about access for arts for everyone. I wish we could do this everyday,” Roxey said.
Roxey’s favorite scene of “The Nutcracker” was the finale.
“Watching the audience and seeing the dancers deliver an immaculate performance was amazing,” Roxey said.