By Anne Eickstadt


The Belvidere Performing Arts Center at the Belvidere High School was the site for a fine performance of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 3 p.m.

“This is our first performance of The Nutcracker Suite,” Steps to Grace Dance Academy owner Holly Reilly said. “The kids have worked so hard since September, and it’s all come together. We are happy to put on this production for the community.”

The Nutcracker Suite made its premier appearance in St. Petersburg, Russia on Sunday, Dec. 18, 1892. The ballet has enjoyed enormous popularity since the 1960s and is now performed by countless dance companies, especially during the Christmas season.

The Nutcracker is a favorite for choreographers to play with. They can be faithful to the original ballet performance or completely discard those guidelines and create their own versions.

The production on Sunday was a variation of the original. The majority of the dances came from the second act of the ballet. All of Act II takes place in the Land of Sweets.

To begin, Clara, as portrayed by Lily Randall, was introduced along with the Nutcracker Prince, played by Casey Bohn. Angels appeared onstage, followed by all the royal courtiers of the prince’s court.

Once they exited the stage, Arabian dancers performed “Coffee.” This was swiftly followed by “Tea” with Chinese dancers, and “Chocolate.”

The Russian “Trepak” dance led the way for the “Marzipan” dancers and the “Waltz of the Flowers.” Brittney Schuth performed “Dew Drop Fairy” and “Pas de Trois.”

The entire Corps de Ballet came out to dance and angels followed. Everyone joined in the finale of the performance. A 10-minute intermission allowed audience members to stretch before the dancers performed two Christmas numbers: “Noel” and “Hallelujah.”

“What a blessing to direct this cast of dancers at Steps to Grace,” Reilly said. “This show is a dream fulfilled, and it has been a joy to watch each dancer grow from auditions to dress rehearsal. Proceeds from this performance are offered to the Boone County Food Pantry.”

To be of even more assistance to the food pantry, dancers’ parents volunteered at several tables in the lobby offering souvenirs. Audience members were able to purchase photos of the show’s dancers, dancer ornaments, and nutcracker decorations. T-shirts, chips, bottles of water, and raffle tickets were also available.

The raffle tickets sold were for a five-foot tall nutcracker decoration. The winner, Emma Joiner, was chosen at the end of the day’s performance.

For more information on Steps to Grace Dance Academy, go to:


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