Holiday joy comes from so many things: A sparkling ornament, a favorite fancy dress, a special toy, a favorite song. Each year, Wilton Dance Studio’s production of the Nutcracker ballet showcases all the beautiful details that make this the most wonderful time of the year. This 22nd annual performance will be on Sunday, December 15th and features several dancers from Ridgefield.
The full-scale production with professional local artisan-made sets and costumes includes more than 80 students and adults from seven area towns. The ballet will be performed on Sunday, December 15th at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Wilton High School’s Clune Center for the Performing Arts.
“Two things really set our ballet apart from other productions: The quality of the dancing of course, but also the attention to every detail that brings the story to life and elevates the experience for our audience,” said Studio Owner and Creative Director Brenda Froehlich.
Olivia Seal, a Ridgefield High School Senior, is dancing the role of Sugar Plum Fairy in this year’s show. Seal said, “I started dancing at Wilton Dance Studio in first grade and have been there ever since. This year I have the privilege of performing as the Sugar Plum Fairy. This role is one that I have wanted to play since I was in my first Nutcracker. The feeling of excitement, fulfillment, and joy I get when on stage is one that can not be replaced. As this will be my last Nutcracker I perform in before I graduate I hope many people will attend this wonderful holiday performance.”
Froehlich said, “Our dancers invest in many hours of rehearsal, nearly every weekend from the end of September until the show. They have a great time with their dance friends, but also learn what it takes to be a true ensemble and come together to create some holiday magic,” said Froehlich, who is a Wilton native.
The production owes much of its professional sparkle and shine to a number of local artisans who have contributed to the costumes and sets over many years. Each year, costume are refreshed to keep them sparkly and bright. In addition, audience members can watch for some special details as well: The artwork on Drosselmeyer’s toy bag in the party scene was created just for Wilton Dance Studio by Joni Johns Lerner, a 25-year veteran the New York professional costume industry. Examples of her work can be seen on the stages of the Broadway, the touring & Japan companies of The Lion King, the Broadway & National Tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie and Wicked. Architect Dan Conlon designed and built the clock in Dr. & Mrs. Stahlbaumn’s living room also in the party scene. Howard Corsa created the Nutcracker & Rat Queen’s swords. The Finnecy Family, longtime Wilton residents, created the shimmering, fanciful ornaments for the Land of Sweets portion of the ballet. Brenda Froehlich, also a jewelry designer, handcrafted many of the tiaras, headpieces and necklaces using genuine Swarovski crystals.
The audience gets a chance to see some of these details with a new tradition begun last year: A meet-and-greet and photo opportunity immediately following the 1:00 pm show. All are invited to come say hello and see the beautiful costumes up close. Younger audience members especially love the chance to take a photo with their favorite dancers.
Wilton Dance Studio’s Nutcracker is designed to suit audiences of all ages while also challenging its dance students, who change roles and learn more complex choreography each year. The performance length is manageable for young children and does not require an intermission. The ballet follows the traditional story of Clara and her Nutcracker prince from E.T.A. Hoffman's The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, with music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Professional sets and elegant costumes complete the high-quality production.
The Wilton Dance Studio production of The Nutcracker will be on Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 1 and 4:30 p.m. at Wilton High School’s Clune Performing Arts Center. Advance ticket sales have closed, but there are plenty of good seats still available. The box office open 30 minutes prior to each show to purchase tickets the day of the show.