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Cochrane dancers make eager return to stage with performance of The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is set to grace the stage at RockPointe Church early next month.

Feet and minds were busy at Snap Dance Studios in Cochrane on Nov. 21, as performers rehearsed for their production of The Nutcracker, which is set to grace the stage at RockPointe Church in early December.

For many of the dancers, who are mostly from the studio but also from within the community, it will be their first production in front of an audience in 20 months.

Studio director Alison Stutz said the dancers were working on a show they were going to perform during a trip to Mexico in the spring of 2020, before the pandemic made other plans for them. 

"COVID hit three weeks before we were supposed to go, so they didn't get to travel with that one," she explained. "They were still able to compete in competitions, we were lucky with that, but it's been with no audience. So, they're really thrilled about this and it's been nice to see that energy in class."

The Nutcracker ballet includes about 100 performers of various ages and a full scale set will stage Dec. 4 and 11 with 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. show times each day.

"At RockPointe Church, there's two screens, [so] the performance will be narrated with videos going the whole time," Stutz explained. "There's Christmas trees, a grandfather clock, a real fireplace. There's changing scenes and sets all throughout the show with lights, confetti, you name it."

The performance follows the traditional story of The Nutcracker as a ballet and also includes different elements of jazz, tap, contemporary and hip hop dancing.

Stutz added many of the leads in the show were cast to graduating students in part due to their talent and experience, and to afford them them an opportunity to be in the spotlight before moving on to future pursuits.

Kaitlyn Henry, 17, has been dancing since she was three-years-old and said she is excited to play the role of the Snow Queen in the upcoming production. 

"We've never really done a production like this," she said. "I always watched The Nutcracker as a little girl and thought it was so cool, so to be a part of the production and also being able to perform with the younger dancers is really fun."

Tickets are available through Snap Dance Studio's website for $25 and Stutz estimates there are still a little over half left per show.

"We were grateful to be able to compete, but when you're competing to a screen, it's not the same as having people there to cheer you on," she said. "So we're really excited to be able to do that. We've all sort of been in isolation so we really just want the community to come out and be together and celebrate."

RockPointe Church is located just off of Highway 1A, in Bearspaw. The Church has the capacity to accommodate about 600 people per show and is following the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP).

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