PAC hosts “The Nutcracker”

Catherine Hyman, Staff Writer

The South Carolina Dance Theatre (SCDT) presented an annual holiday tradition for the Pee Dee area, “The Nutcracker”, on Dec. 4, 5 and 6 at the Performing Arts Center (PAC).

The SCDT dancers performed the two-act ballet four times for the 2015 holiday season.

The first act of “The Nutcracker” began with scenes at a house centering in reality. Clara, played by SCDT dancer Rosemary Flamini, participated in her family Christmas party, dancing and playing with the guests.

She received a nutcracker as a gift from her uncle Drosselmeyer. Clara’s brother, Fritz, played by SCDT dancer Ella Warner, broke it as he tried to take it from her. The nutcracker’s head broke, but Drosselmeyer, played by Nick Townsend, repaired him with a handkerchief.

Then, the story shifted into portraying the less reality-based portion of the ballet. Here, the audience saw an army of mice led by SCDT dancer Ava Hatchell battling an army of toy soldiers led by another dancer, Sallyann Frost.

Afterwards, the scene switched from Clara’s house to the land of snow. Here, the audience saw the Snow Queen, played by SCDT dancer Hannah Griffin, dancing with the Snow King and other dancers.

After the intermission, the ballet resumed with Act II. This scene was held primarily in the fictional Land of Sweets. The audience saw the Sugar Plum Fairy dance with a group of young angels.

The dancers represented multiple areas of the world. The audience saw a Spanish scene, an Arabian scene, a Russian scene and a scene of shepherdesses among others.

There was a final dance between the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier. In the final scene, the audience saw Clara sitting in front of her family’s Christmas tree, holding up the nutcracker.

Susan Rowe, the artistic director of SCDT, said that the performances were successful and she was very pleased with the dancers’ performances.

The dancers have been preparing for this performance since the season began near the beginning of the school year and have worked to make it successful, Rowe said. According to Rowe, the girls are highly dedicated, and it showed in their performance this year.

Rowe said each year the dancers come back and try to make the new performance even better, and although there is always more to be done, the dancers did extremely well this season.

Caitlin Holt, a homeschooled high school student currently taking dual credit courses at FMU, was cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy for this performance.

Holt has been dancing since she was three-yearsold. At the age of 12, she was cast the role of Clara in SCDT’s performance of “The Nutcracker.” Holt said she has dreamed of being the Sugar Plum Fairy for years and was excited to have earned that role this year.

“The most rewarding part of ballet is getting to challenge yourself and test your limits every day and to have this goal reached was a dream come true,” Holt said. “At the end of the day, when I get through all the challenges, getting to dance and be a part of SCDT is what I love to do.”

Holt said that the skills she has gained at SCDT have pushed her towards wanting a career in ballet, and she is working hard with the help of Rowe to someday pursue ballet professionally.