'Nutcracker' to be presented this weekend

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This weekend, Cary's International Ballet Academy is bringing back their sensory-friendly Nutcracker, with these audiences in mind.

Bartner dances with NECB/Northeast Dance Center, which is performing the Nutcracker at the Methuen Performing Arts Center at Methuen High School on December 16 and 17.

Both girls are 16-year-old juniors and this is the third year they have been part of the Pacific Festival Ballet's "Nutcracker" performances.

"The students of the ABT Gillespie School are receiving pre-professional training, which means they are not only fine-tuning technical skill but also are aware that they are learning an art form where their creativity is encouraged", Haubert said. There are also community dancers who have auditioned and earned roles for The Nutcracker. This will be their 12th production at the River Center and 21st production overall.

Through the Abilities Dance program, Fanney said she has also seen "tremendous growth" in the participating children's ability to learn.

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"I have 14 to 15 hours of classes per week, not including Nutcracker rehearsal for most of the day of Sunday", she said.

She has competed in the Youth American Grand Prix and attended summer programs with Boston Ballet and Ballet West. The role of the Sugar Plum Fairy is often considered the "main" role in The Nutcracker and holds a lot of prestige and high expectations. At midnight, the Nutcracker magically comes to life and takes her on a thrilling and magical adventure.

"My favorite part is seeing how the story evolves and changes through all of the places the nutcracker goes and how the dancing and the story fit together", Conti said. A festive Christmas potluck ensues, only to be interrupted by the mysterious Great Impresario, creator of the World's Fair. Cast members include: Daphne Hatzigiannis, Francesca Carnovale, Charlotte Griffin and Talia Maszerlli.

This past summer, she attended the Miami City Ballet's summer program.

The Dance Prism, meanwhile, will hold a performance December 16 and 17, also at the Collins Center with Madeline Henlin, Annie Hamilton, Olivia Ventre. Auditorium on the South Carolina State University campus at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10. Local performers include Saoirse Daly, EB McCarthy, Emily Bartner, Elaina Ventre and Jessica Liao.