Spotlight on the TCFAF Nutcracker: Susan Cade
TCFAF is most honored to have Pages to Pirouettes’ artistic director, Susan Cade, stage her Nutcracker here in TCI this Christmas. After a very successful visit March 2009, when the Philadelphia-based dance company staged Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, merging visiting artists with local dancers, did Susan come up with the idea to stage a Nutcracker.
Susan started her dance company 14 years ago, as the artistic director and principal dancer, and has performed over 300 shows in the Philadelphia metropolitan region in all types of venues, including schools, retirement homes, churches and museums. The mission of Pages, a non-profit organization, is to enrich cultural awareness and appreciation in the community by bringing the art of story ballet to young audiences. Solely Susan’s vision, Pages’ performances are unique in that an abridged version of the story is read and then performed. The Pages’ repertoire includes Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Swan Lake, Coppelia, and of course, Nutcracker.
Susan began her dance career in New York as a child and continued at Ithaca College where she received a BA in Music and Dance. After graduation she studied in New York City at Darvash Studios and Harkness Ballet. She went on to graduate school where she received an MEd in Early Childhood Education and studied RAD technique in Champaign, Illinois. Returning to the east coast, she trained and performed in several Virginia-based regional companies before moving to Philadelphia where she continued taking classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet and the Wissahickon Ballet School.
Susan considers herself very fortunate to have danced and performed in Washington DC with several regional ballet companies at the Kennedy Center. Some special performances include Romeo and Juliet and Sleeping Beauty with American Ballet Theatre and The Paris Opera Ballet’s Swan Lake with Rudolph Nureyev. She made her community theatre debut in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” with the King of Prussia Players in 2008 as a camel and tango dancer.
Susan, a gifted teacher and choreographer, ran the Nutcracker Camp this summer in TCI to get the children ready for their roles. Over 60 children came out for auditions in April, when Susan and her partner Scott Cannon visited to help TCFAF run the auditions and go to the schools to tell the story, and talk about the performance.
Not a newcomer to Providenciales, Susan confesses that it was a privilege to work at the Edward C. Gartland Youth Centre conducting theatre, dance and music workshops in March 2009, August 2009, and August 2010. “We have been most grateful to Mr. Gartland and TCFAF for supporting our efforts with the children of Turks and Caicos.”
Besides being chief choreographer and artistic director, Susan will dance the roles of Mrs. Stahlbaum in Act I and the Arabian princess in Act II at Brayton Hall this December. Over the summer she worked with two youths from the Youth Centre to accompany her as Arabian sentinels – Patrick Musgrove and Reginald Parker will be making their dance debuts this December. When asked how she is preparing for her roles, she replied that she listens to the music and rehearses as often as she can. Many times, she admits, “I am dancing it in my head without physically doing it.”
One of the very special skills that Susan shares is teaching ballet to seniors at the Shannondell Retirement Community, including “chair ballet” to the Dementia Unit. Originally from White Plains, New York, she currently lives in Merion, Pennsylvania with her daughters Alexandra and Christiana. When not being a mom or dancing ballet, Susan loves to dance Argentinian Tango.