Getting Ready for Nutcracker this Christmas

TCFAF Nutcracker rehearsals are going strong as over 60 children and adults prepare for their roles, with only seven more weeks to go before The Nutcracker opens on Dec. 2 for 4 shows – Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday.    All rehearsals are being held at Stargazer Studio at the Pankhurst home on International Drive.

Nineteen adorable Polichinelles from ages 4 to 7 are practicing weekly to learn their roles of popping out from under Mother Ginger’s voluminous skirt.   Mother Ginger is played by Asa Williams.  There are 11 Toy Soldiers, 10 Mice and 15 Angels learning their roles each week as well.

Local soloists, who will dance alongside seasoned professionals from the U.S., are learning the discipline, practice, and hard work needed to perfect a performance.  Pages to Pirouettes’ artistic director Susan Cade along with Scott Cannon, Laura McGinty, Ruben Ybarra, and Rachel Condello will arrive just before Thanksgiving to begin rehearsals at Brayton Hall.  They will be joined by dancer, stage and film actor, George de la Peña, and two of his students from the University of Iowa.  Mr. de la Peña will play the role of Herr Drosselmeyer.

Natasha Leybush of Rock It Hot Fitness, a personal trainer and student of the famed Kirov Ballet School of Russia, is teaching Ballet Technique on Saturdays to interested students of any age at Stargazer Studio to help condition the dancers.  She is graciously donating her time to TCFAF out of her busy schedule to help TCFAF and Pages to Pirouettes make the production a success.  Moreover, she is dancing the solo variation of Russian Peppermint, along with a corps of seven dancers from the Youth Centre.

The Bowen Dance Academy students are performing an original variation for the Land of the Sweets, entitled Salt Cay Candy. Two of their advanced dance students, Ryesha Higgs and Phoebe Twigg are soloists for the Chinese variation.

Rehearsal Schedule

Dance Coaches are Barbara Pankhurst, Haley Weldon, and Natasha Leybush.  The Youth Chorale practice is run by Addison Stoddard, accompanied by Wendy Hayward on the piano.


3:30-4:30         Arabian

5:00-6:00         Ballet Technique – call to register

6:00-8:30         Introduction to Ballroom Dancing – call to register


3:30-4:40        Polichinelles

5:00-6:10        Toy Soldiers/Mice Battle

6:30-8:00        Soloist Variations


3:30-4:40        Polichinelles


10:30-11:45   Angels

11:30-11:45   Makeup Toy Soldier/Mice Rehearsal

2:00-3:30        Russian Variation

3:30-4:00        Youth Chorale Practice for Nutcracker Caroling

4:00-5:30pm   Ballet Technique Class followed by soloist practice


Tickets will go on sale at Unicorn Bookstore the first week in November for three evening performances on December 2, 3, 4 with Adult Floor tickets selling at $20; Youth tickets at $5; Balcony tickets, $35.  For the first time, after popular request, TCFAF will have a Sunday afternoon performance starting at 2:00pm.

As a Nutcracker Fundraiser and a way to bring the local artists together, TCFAF volunteers, Lucie Winton Stubbs and Emma Halliday are planning the first ever TCFAF Arts & Crafts Expo on November 20th .  It will be held under the tent at Turtle Cove Marina from 10-4pm.  For more information, you can contact:  Lucie or Emma at

For more information about The Nutcracker, check out the TCFAF webpage at

Barbara Pankhurst

October 20, 2010






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