Dance Company Takes In Groundbreaking Holiday Production

Twelve members of Dance Company were transported to the Land of Sweets on Friday, December 13, as they attended George Balanchine’s beloved Christmas ballet, “The Nutcracker,” at the New York City Ballet.

The show tells the magical story of a young girl, Marie, whose favorite toy, a nutcracker, comes to life on Christmas Eve and whisks her away to a land of dancing candies and flowers. 

The students found this year’s rendition by the New York City Ballet particularly exciting because, for the first time, the New York City Ballet’s production of the classic tale features a black ballerina in Marie’s role. “The diverse casting really made a difference in how much more I related to and enjoyed the show,” Dance Company member Jazmine Hudson ’21 said. Some students had not attended a professional ballet production before, including Sammy Tambe ’21, who described the performance as magical. Before the production, the students were given a backstage tour, where they learned how the set’s Christmas tree grows 41 feet, how the ballerina slides across the floor on pointe, how the snow falls, among other fascinating facts.

Upper school dance teacher and Dance Company Director Shell Benjamin was delighted, not just with the performance, but at the opportunity to expose her students to a world-class production at a seminal moment the institution’s history: “What an awesome opportunity to see the dancers' eyes light up as they got a closer look at what it takes to be a professional dancer, ask questions during the backstage tour, seeing variations they have learned in class, and to witness a historic moment of New York City Ballet's diverse casting."

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