Studio K presents The Nutcracker Dec. 12-13
How suite it is.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's immortal ballet, The Nutcracker, returns to Farthing Auditorium in Boone Dec. 12-13, courtesy of Studio K Youth Ballet.
To many High Country residents, the performance heralds the arrival of the holidays. To some, Christmas just wouldn't be the same without it. Cay Harkins is one of them.
Harkins, founder of Studio K, has presented The Nutcracker for the last 14 years, casting more than 300 area performers, ranging from ages 3 through 60, for each production.
"We tried to turn our studio from just dance to performing arts, and seeing this town had an incredible auditorium like Farthing, talented people to fill the stage and the interest was there, we felt if we could do The Nutcracker ourselves, rather than someone else, by George, let's do it," Harkins said.
The production allows Harkins' students to learn lessons beyond the classroom, taking to stage to gain experience, delight their peers and, most importantly, have fun.
"The kids love it," she said. "It's a holiday tradition now, because we're doing it every year. They don't remember what Christmas is like without it."
The same can be said for audience members, many of whom have made it their own family tradition. Harkins calls it a growing tradition, and this can be taken literally. Many of The Nutcracker's performers are children of Harkins' former students, and, in some cases, grandchildren.
"It's really neat," she said. "Now we have children, their parents, and their grandparents in the show - three generations, and we've got several instances like that, where grandparents started when their child was in it and stayed."
In that respect, Studio K's performers, past and present, span the entire community.
"If you're a local in this area, you're going to recognize people on the stage," Harkins said.
Studio K's Nutcracker is a grand production, meticulously staged and produced, its detailed backdrops designed by a California company that makes background scenery for large-scale productions, including The Oprah Winfrey Show and Celine Dion concerts.
"If you're going to pull it off, you've got to do it right," Harkins said.
The production receives no outside funding, Harkins said, and almost all the proceeds go toward producing next year's performance. "We're not here to make money, but to make sure the arts survive in the community and that children are educated through them," she said.
The children in The Nutcracker are what Harkins calls "half-casts," meaning half perform one evening and the other half the next. Young adults 13 and up dance in both shows, as do adult performers, typically family members of current performers or Studio K alumni. Others opt to help backstage, from gathering props to sewing costumes.
"People want to help out one way or another," Harkins said. "Every year, we do something different, changing several things in each production, so you're not going to see the same thing."
This includes costume changes, different choreography, new backdrops, and more. "We twist the story just enough to add something, not just through dance, but through props and an expanding of other ideas," Harkins said.
By the time rehearsal started in September, Harkins and company had already begun reviewing videos of previous performances to aid in building this year's. "We present a two-hour show without speaking a single word - it has to be done through dance and visuals, while stirring the audience's emotions," Harkins said.
And the visuals are often interactive, like snow and fog that drift over the audience, while others are simply dazzling, be it pyrotechnics, a confetti-shooting cannon, or a festive Christmas tree that seems to grow throughout the performance
Based on E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," written in 1816, The Nutcracker takes viewers to Christmas Eve in a land long ago and far away. A young girl named Clara is attending her family's Christmas party, during which a mysterious guest, Dr. Drosselmeyer, presents all the children with toys, Clara receiving a nutcracker. After the party, she dreams of a magical world in which toys come to life, including the Nutcracker Prince, who takes Clara to a magical, musical world.
"You can't help but love this one," Harkins said. "This is very light, easy to follow, and perfect for bringing people who've never been to a ballet, even young children. There's even a fight scene between soldiers and rats, so it'll keep the boys entertained, as well."
The Studio K production of The Nutcracker stars Meghan Mixon as Clara, Andy Harkins as Dr. Drosselmeyer, Matt Backe as the Nutcracker Prince, Kenneth Wright as Councillor Von Stahlbaum, Kit Fisher as Frau Von Stahlbaum, Savannah Spencer as Fritz, Cay Harkins as the Snow Queen and Cavalier, Anna Reichard as the Queen of Sweets and Ashley Harkins as the Grandmother and Lead Angel. Shellie Karaus plays the Dewdrop Fairy and Cavalier.
Ariel Franklin plays Columbine, and Matthew Backe plays the Soldier Doll. Jay Kramer plays the Mouse King, and the Large Mice are played by Jeff Hatley, Ken Steel, Mike Wilson and Kenneth Wright.
Toy Store Children for Saturday's performance are Natalie Davis, Alex Duff, Fern Hoover, Lana Grace Natusch, Bethany Pryor, Quigley, Bayleigh Wilson, Meredith Rhem Christa Rose Acker, Sunny Greene, Rose Porter and Autumn Weaver, while Sunday's performers are Makayla Andrews, Elli Berry, Madelyn Ellis, Foster Fowler, Matty Garvin, Sarah Garvin, Kara Johnson, Avery Martin, Brielynn Myers, Cerelia Renwick, Naia Renwick, Piper Grace Saunders, Sophie Speckmann, Gretchin Turbyfill and Anna Raines.
Village Dancers for both shows are Mackenna Berry, Brittany Burwell, Emily Burwell, Ashley Canter, Sidney Ginn, Nicole Krontz, Laura Zuber, Kellyn Stamey, Anna Jensen, Abigail Apgar, Caroline Lovins and Morgan Hatley.
Party Guests are Carol Anderson, Mike Wilson, Jeff Hatley, Sandy Miller, Shannon Hatley, Ken Steele, Dan Krontz, Ruth Crutis, Tom Fisher, John Cook, Saralyn Kader, Kathy Moorman, Margaret Handley, Terry Anderson, Saralynn Kader, Greg Lovins, Tiffany Christian and Jay Kramer, while Party Children are Emma Harkins, Morgan Hatley, Emma Harkins, Andrew Hatley, Megan Smith, Nicole Krontz, Kellyn Stamey, Brandy Hicks, Caroline Lovins, Savannah Copeland, Mary Lovins, Brittany Burwell, Sara Frances Greene, Hattie Rose Greene, Peyton Walton, Kati Mac Greene, Cami Hastings, Kaitlin Meiring, Aynsley Moore, Mackenna Berry, Ryan Loflin, Emma Kate Sevensky, Gaia Harper , Emma Carter, Gabriella Barlow, Rhianna Verholek , Julia Handley, Bella Barlow, Abigail Apgar , Olivia Handley and Olivia Watson.
Small Clock Mice are, on Saturday, Josie Armes, Jaelyn Carter, Raylen Christian, Rayna Christian, Kaylee Coffey, Korbel Cook, Hannah Critcher, Austin Dyer, Tory Goss, Madi Greene, Natalie Hill, Katie May Mast, Hannah Millsaps, Emma Kate Moore, Georgia Parker and ViVi Rushing, and Sunday's performers are Anna Grace Anderson, Olivia Burroughs, Rylee Councill, Bailey Councill, Lilly Fairbanks, Sarah Fredenburg, Macayla Kanoy, Camryn Norris, Lauren Patterson, Ava Pinnix, Katie Gray Sechrist, Laurel West and Brooklyn Stanberry.
Soldiers are Emma Harkins, Emma Carder, Sara Fran Greene, Abigail Apgar. Mackenna Berry, Allie Berry, Emily Berry, Anna Beth Berry, Cami Hastings, Mackenna Berry, Olivia Handley and Alison Quinn.
Snow Attendants are Anna Reichard, Simone Anderson, Jenny Myers, Laurel Beebe, Ashley Miller, Sarah Pinnix and Evangeline Redmond.
Snowflakes are Simone Anderson, Sara Critcher, Celeste Crowe, Wendy Curtis Broderick, Abby Foster, Ariel Franklin, Ashley Harkins, Lindsey Harkins, Shannon Hatley, Shellie Karaus, Catharine Harkins Milner, Jenny Myers, Alana Patterson, Megan Rawdon, Anna Reichard, Nicole Werner, Tara Wicker, Cara Ray and Georgia Goss.
Little Angels, on Saturday, are Isabella Barlow, Bethany Critcher, Lily Devereux, Angela Claire Henderson, Lucy Miller, Reagan Miller, Evangelina Mizell, Elizabeth Noble, Emma Rominger, Lydia Rothrock and Ellery Rushing, while Sunday's performers are Kylie Clarke, Alexis Clary, Kathleen Gibson, Lizzie Miller, Lily Mueller, Kazia Orkiszewski, Hannah Roten, Grace Sears, Janie Ann Soucek, Kailei Watts, Bre Winkler Price and Hunter Gall.
Gumdrops, on Saturday, are Maggie Bradford, Kasey Gragg, Shannon Hall, Lauren Hawkins, Colby Hester, Charli Johnson, Brealin Maya, Liliana Miller, Adelaide Pittman, Genevieve Powell, Kara Schneider, Hannah Studt and Madison Welch, while Sunday's Gumdrops are Jackie Greene, Margaret Greene, Cora Hatley, Kamryn Lavell, Katie Lipford, Lily Baye Maple, Georga Northern, Abbey Pulliam, Addison Totherow, Lucy and Madi Greene.
Sugar Plum Attendants are, on Saturday, R.J. Christian, Kaylee Cottom, Noelle Eller, Summit Fredenburg, Andrew Hatley, Catie Holder, Emma Hudspeth, Carrie Labonte, Mary Lovins, Emma Kate Sevensky, Anna Shellman, Audrey Smith, Sage Souza, Sydney Styron, Belinda Wang, Demi Wang and Kaitlin Meiring, while Sunday's performers are Sage Cercopely, Alison Cook, Emily Grant, Hattie Rose Greene, Faith Ann Henson, Kayla Mast, Claire McCoy, Emma Pinnix, Samantha Reese, Savannah Spencer, Kelsey Watts, Caroline Zuber and Kaitlin Meiring.
Divertissements performers are Sarah Pinnix, Jenny Myers, Nicole Werner, Abby Foster, Even Redmond, Jenny Myers, Simone Anderson, Ashley Miller, Wendy Curtis Broderick, Gayle Anderson, with soloists Ashley Harkins, Lindsey Harkins, Tara Wicker and Catharine Harkins Milner.
Attendants (both nights) are Gabrielle Barlow, Hannah Bates, Courtney Bell, Mackenna Berry, Staci Brown, Ashley Canter, Savannah Copeland, Sidney Ginn, Morgan Hatley, Brandy Hicks, J.J. Indicott, Nicole Krontz, Ryan Loflin, Caroline Lovins, Aynsley Moore, Elizabeth Pitts, Amelia Powers, Megan Tate and Rayanna Christian, while Saturday attendants are Tegan Allan, Lili Bauer, Lauren Cottom, Riley Fowler, Caroline Hoover, Emmie Huffman, Eden Indicott, Erin Jensen, Maggie Milhaupt, Natalie Noble, Caitlin Sanders, Sarah Grace Shellman, Mattie Suggs and Kaycee Wilson.
Mirlitons (Reed Flutes) soloists are Nicole Werner, Shannon Hatley, Gayle Anderson,
Wendy Curtis Broderick and Alana Patterson.
Attendants, on Saturday, are Allison Brown, Emma Carder, Lindsey Cole, Sara Frances Greene, Olivia Handley, Emma Harkins, Cami Hastings, Lacy Holder, Tory Jensen, Amanda Lubkemann, Hannah Nemcosky, Allison Quinn, Meghan Smith, Camille Ward and Tymber Wilson, while Sunday's are Catherine Catoe, Rayanna Christian, Carolina Conway, Morgan Critcher, Moriah Franklin, Amelia Humiston-Baker, Deanna Indicott, Jasmine Jackson, Kennedy Kavanaugh, Rachel Norwood, Jessica Tufts and Katherine Tufts
Mother Ginger's Children are, on Saturday, Emma Barr, Lacey Bradford, Savannah Julia Handley, Gaia Harper, Emalyn Heathershaw, Josie Herring, Emily Hill, Caroline Hodges, Hannah Ligon, Ramsey Parker, Kacie Rominger, Molly Taylor, Annika Willis and Meredith Rhem, while Sunday performers are Julia Banks, Rebekah Blair, Lilly Coggins, Bailey Cook, Luci Brooke Creed, Libby Glidewell, Kati Mac Greene, Molly Grimes, Sarah Grimes, Ella Pennell, Olivia Pinnix, Marisa Romanat, Maddey Street, Allison Turbyfill, Katie Thompson, Rhianna Verholek and Peyton Walton.
Valse des Fleurs Corps de Ballet (Waltz of the Flowers) performers are Gayle Anderson, Simone Anderson, Sara Critcher, Wendy Curtis Broderick, Abby Foster, Ariel Franklin, Ashley Harkins, Shellie Karaus, Jenny Myers, Megan Rawdon, Anna Reichard, Nicole Werner, Sarah Pinnix, Evangeline Redmond, Laurel Beebe, Ashley Miller, Shannon Hatley, Georgia Goss, Cara Ray, Alana Patterson and Tara Wicker.
Cotton Candy performers are Laurel Beebe, Ashley Miller, Evangeline Redmond, Abigail Apgar, Addi Berry, Emily Berry, Taylor Blanton, Brittany Burwell, Joanna Campbell, Megan Dean, Anna Jensen, Victoria Redmon, Kellyn Stamey, Ivy Ulmer, Olivia Watson, Kerri Whittaker and Laura Zuber.
Finale Corps de Ballet performers are Laurel Beebe, Evangeline Redmond, Abigail Apgar, Addi Berry, Emily Berry, Taylor Blanton, Brittany Burwell, Joanna Campbell, Megan Dean, Anna Jensen, Victoria Redmon, Kellyn Stamey, Ivy Ulmer, Olivia Watson, Kerri Whittaker and Laura Zuber.
Studio K Youth Ballet's The Nutcracker will be performed Saturday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 13, at 3 p.m., both at Farthing Auditorium on the Appalachian State University campus.
Tickets cost $11 for adults and $8 for children and students, and are available at the Farthing Auditorium box office by calling (828) 262-4046.