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Nuts about the Nutcracker returns on December 18, benefits Ridgefield Special Olympics athletes

The annual “Nuts about the Nutcracker” returns on December 18th to benefit Special Olympics Ridgefield athletes!

The 2021 annual winter performances of “Nuts about the Nutcracker” will be held on Saturday, December 18th, at Noon and 5pm, at East Ridge Middle School.

Special Olympics Ridgefield is thrilled to be chosen as the beneficiary of all proceeds from the upcoming performances of “Nuts about the Nutcracker.”

Tickets, sponsorships, and donations may be purchased online at here. Tickets will also be available at the door prior to the shows.

Jean Cobelli, Director of the School of Dance at the Enchanted Garden Studios, is the creator, director, and choreographer of “Nuts about the Nutcracker,” and treasures the local community partnership behind the show. Starting in August, over 80 dancers began their daily training. It ends with donating the show’s proceeds to a worthy local charity. The dancers are so excited to dance for Special Olympics Ridgefield!

Special Olympics Ridgefield has over 90 active participants including athletes, coaches, unified partners, and volunteers who train throughout the year. Ridgefield currently offers training and competition opportunities in cycling, swimming, track and field and bowling. With the support of local sponsorships, donations, and ticket sales of the production, the proceeds will contribute to the costs of team uniforms, equipment, team expenses, and registration fees along with expansion of programming community wide.

About “Nuts about the Nutcracker”: This production is a spirited modern adaptation of the original 1892 fairy tale ballet set to music by Tchaikovsky. The ballet takes place in Ridgefield. Jean Cobelli, who grew up in Ridgefield, brings a hometown storyline to the Nutcracker. “I feel the Nutcracker Suite is a timeless work of art that would be very hard for me to replicate,” she said, “Other stages produce beautiful renditions, but I needed to create something more captivating and personal for my dancers and audience. I designed the Main Street scenery to include ‘Clara’ visiting The Ridgefield Toy Shop, Book Shop, Sweet Shop, and a Dress Shop!” At the end of act one, The Holiday Stroll comes alive — a Ridgefield tradition — the athletes join the stage of dancers during this musical collaboration. The second act takes place in Clara’s bedroom where her magical fairy-tale dream begins.

The dancer preparing and performing in “Nuts about the Nutcracker” is truly a journey. The dancers who make it to the high school level take their turns being featured. Everyone gets the opportunity to hear the applause and feel that they have made it to the finish line. “My wish as I train my girls is to make them feel that they are special, unique and important,” said Cobelli, “I have seen children who are different shapes and sizes with all sorts of abilities and challenges during my 35 years as a teacher. It is my hope that this Nutcracker is a platform that includes all abilities, helps set goals, builds teamwork, and simply allows dreams to come true!”

The journey of the athlete preparing for competition is similar. Through months of training, the athletes realize their abilities and find success, joy, and friendship as part of our community. Through teamwork and goal setting, each athlete gains confidence because of their accomplishments. Winning the gold is not the objective in competing, it is the thrill of the applause, recognition, and celebrating the athlete!

“The magic really happens with the beginning of my dancer’s life — watching my youngest dancers in kindergarten who laugh more than dance to my teens who make this their biggest priority,” said Cobelli. “Just before the curtain opens — I tell my girls that my job is now over. It’s all theirs, it is meant not to be perfect, just dance!” The following senior performers, Alexia Anglade, Marley Bender, Lindsay Carroll, Carina Carfi, Jacqueline Chelednik, Morgan Cone, Emma Gibson, Lorenna Graham, Annie Haughney, Elizabeth Holloway, Brooke Manganiello, Ella Miner, Alyssa Napoli, Avery O'Brien, Ashlee Tuccio, Lauren Wilkenloh, and Claire Wilkinson, will be highlighted in “Nuts about the Nutcracker.”

Dance and sports share so many things in common. It is important to feel included, guided by coaches to be better, and to know your efforts are acknowledged. The benefits of physical activity and teamwork provide life-changing opportunities. “Physical activity and emotional confidence do not come easy to all,” said Cobelli. “The support of a team can help make dreams come true.

My dancers and I congratulate all of our Ridgefield Olympic athletes and want to share in their successes, joy and acceptance in our community.”

To learn more about Special Olympics Ridgefield, join the team as an athlete, coach, or volunteer, please contact Jeanne Lanzetta at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Sue Mulvaney at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Ridgefield CT Special Olympics FB page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/RidgefieldSO/

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