Blue Heron’s The Nutcracker continues tradition
By Halle Wyatt, Co-Content Editor
For two decades now, the Blue Heron has drawn islanders to its stage for the yearly performance of The Nutcracker. This December marked the twentieth anniversary of the Blue Heron’s production with a weekend of packed audiences and a glittering display of talent. It’s easy to say that this island tradition isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Crissy Baker, the co-director and stage manager of the show, believes that The Nutcracker’s island popularity stems from the large community involvement the production requires.
“There’s so many dancers and families involved in this so it becomes — [for] two weeks or more… — a part of their life,” Baker said. “It brings the community together.”
Baker also noted the performance’s significance on the dancers and the development of their skills.
“This is a dance production that all [of] the dance students can look forward to and know what that next level is and they can strive for it,” Baker said. “They know they can start off as a little mouse, work their way up into the party scene as one of the party guests, work their way up into one of the early entrance lead roles, and then… it grows from there.”
Baker and her co-director, Vadni White, sought to challenge the dancers, as well as surprise yearly audience members. They did this with new choreography seen during the Chinese tea scene, and new additions to the show, such as the Dewdrop Fairy, played by junior Mia Kuzma.
Kuzma has experience in other lead roles such as Clara, the Arabian Princess, and the Sugar Plum Fairy.
“My first lead I ever was was Clara,” Kuzma said. “That was not what I expected it to be. … It was one of the more boring roles I’ve done. … This is different because it’s really challenging moves and I’m with a core. [The Arabian Princess] is with a core but they weren’t really doing a whole lot and I’m more dancing in and out of the core this time.”
The success of the opening night came as a surprise to Kuzma considering the little rehearsal time spent in the theater.
“It was by far the best Nutcracker we have done in a while,” she said. “We couldn’t believe we had kicked the weekend off with such a wonderful show. Usually you expect your opening night to be a little rough… when it went well we were all really surprised and happy.”
Baker is impressed with the hard work and time the cast has put into the show and hopes the dancers feel similarly.
“I just ultimately want for them to enjoy their experience,” Baker said. “I want them to feel proud of their work. I want them to feel like they’ve entertained and grown with their work.”