The Diamond Dance Company held their 16th annual performance of The Nutcracker Ballet this past weekend at the Milford Senior High School Auditorium. The public performances this year were held on Saturday and Sunday, December 6 and 7. As in years past the dance company also held two performances for area school children and senior citizens from near-by assisted living facilities on the Friday before the public performance.
The performance was led this year by Juliana Warnock dancing as Clara and Arlene Maheu playing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Nutcracker Ballet is the story of a small girl who experiences an adventure in a dream-like world at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve. Toys, ornaments and animals come alive as Clara attempts to rescue her nutcracker that was given to her as a Christmas present.
Misty Yencer, co-director of this year’s Nutcracker Ballet, is the granddaughter of Tatiana Akinfieva-Smith and continues her grandmother’s love of the performing arts through all of the dancers involved. Misty has been dancing for over 30 years and has been an active part of the Diamond Dance Company for 12 years.
“My favorite part of the nutcracker tradition is the sense of family and fellowship,” said Yencer. “Seeing everyone work together, having a great time, making lifelong memories, and seeing how proud the dancers are of themselves and each other as they step foot on the stage.”
The cast for this year’s performance numbered over 80 and included dancers from the original cast, as well as community members experienced in theater. Both public shows were well received as the production saw an increased interest, noted by the increase in audience members from last year and a standing ovation following both performances. Yencer attributes The Nutcracker’s continued success to the hard work that goes on behind the scenes from “organizing, loading, delivering and setting up all of the sets, scenery, props, special dance flooring and costumes” to “coordinating swift and seamless set changes and effects, along with quick changes for dancers.”
“In order to guarantee a successful performance everyone involved must be working toward the same goal and vision,” said Yencer. “It is the job of the board and artistic staff to make sure we are communicating that goal through our actions and communication.”
DDC will be producing another original ballet production, The Little Mermaid, scheduled for April 24 and 25 at Milford High School.