By Abbey Doyle
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
LouAnn Young said she has tried for several years to feature different ballets for youth to perform around the holiday season.
But they always come back to “The Nutcracker.”
“Everyone wants to see ‘The Nutcracker’ at Christmas,” said Young, director of the Anderson Young Ballet Theatre. “We make sure every year it is something new and exciting — new choreography, different people in different roles and this year we have two guest artists.”
The annual ballet’s performance at The Paramount Theatre — Friday through Sunday — has been going on for decades. Young said the community counts on the performance each year but her dancers also relish the experience.
“The company, they look forward to it year round,” she said. “It is a delightful show and something everyone can understand.”
The cast’s three seniors — Sydney Sizemore, 17, of Fishers; Lauren Snyder, 17, of Anderson and Sarah Monnier, 17, of Anderson — said the performance is one they look forward to each year being with the company for more than 10 years.
“Knowing it is our last year to do the performance, it still feels kind of shocking,” said Sydney, playing the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Lauren, cast as the Snow Queen, said she is grateful for this last opportunity to dance in a theater as well-known as the Paramount. Sarah, playing Dew Drop, said she knows it will be her last chance to perform the iconic ballet with friends she’s danced with “forever.”
“This is a classic show for us,” Lauren said. “We will really miss it.”
Young stressed that keeping the arts alive in the community through the performances like “The Nutcracker” is critical as many schools are reducing or eliminating arts. The ballet has a sold-out performance for area schools planned for Thursday.
“Each year we bring a fresh, new performance of the classic,” she said. “There will be beautiful scenery, our wonderful company, special guests. It is an opportunity to see what is going on in the art of dance in our community. We are brining the arts to people who might never get a chance to see anything like that.”
Sarah said she is most excited for the school performance as seeing the young children’s faces is priceless.
“They gasp in reaction to what we are doing,” she said happily. “It is more fun for us to perform because they get into it so much.”
Sydney said these school performances help recruit fellow ballerinas as the students see the performance and realize that they too can be a part of such a production.
Young said she’s enjoyed watching the students in her company grow as dancers as part of the show moving up from mice to soldiers to the party scene and eventually to dances in the second act.
There are about 70 dancers with performers ranging in age from 5 to adults. Young said they start working on the performance as early as June and work on it throughout the rest of the year.
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