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North County Dance’s Nutcracker showcases local youth talent 

Grace Shirley, 12-years-old, wowed the audience with her performance as the Raggedy Ann Doll. Photos courtesy Jimmy De Photography.
Grace Shirley, 12-years-old, wowed the audience with her performance as the Raggedy Ann Doll. Photos courtesy Jimmy De Photography.

Show was a holiday treat for fans of all ages

North County Dance and Performing Arts Foundation’s production of the Nutcracker Ballet last weekend showcased a large cast of over 65 local dancers to sold out and nearly sold out crowds.

The show, in line with Templeton’s tested spirit of joining together to support fellow members of the community, was dedicated to 4-year-old Annie Blake, a local girl who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia. At the end of the show, the brave young girl was given a special tiara.

Caleb Cole as Godfather Dosselmeyer and Margaret Shirley as the maid.

Caleb Cole as Godfather Dosselmeyer and Margaret Shirley as the maid.

While solid performances from the adult members of the cast provided a reliable backbone for the production, it was some of the youth dancers that really stole the show. Knock out performances included 12-year-old Grace Shirley’s limber and convincing performance as the Raggedy Ann Doll, and 7th grader Mikaela Farrer’s charming and delicate portrayal of Clara.

Oscar Guiterrez proved to be not only a talented and acrobatic dancer with his portrayal of the Nutcracker Prince, but also shined as a fantastic facial actor, demonstrating a wide range of emotions in his performance. Emaly Bousman, an 11-year-old student at Trinity Lutheran, made an adorably mischievous Fritz.

Mikeaela Farrer was "on pointe" as Clara.

Mikeaela Farrer was “on pointe” as Clara.

Some favorites in the adult cast included Caleb Cole, who played a darkly mysterious yet still likable Godfather Drosselmeyer, opening up the show and setting the scene perfectly. His antics at the party scene dancing with the delightfully prim Maid Margaret Shirley and some of the other party guests provided the audience with a good chuckle.

Another surprise came in the second act, where the painfully cute cast of a dozen or so little girls dressed as Bon Bons came screaming at the top of their lungs out of a large bon bon box.

Mikaela Farrer and Oscar Gutierrez made a charming duo as Clara and the Nutcracker Prince.

Mikaela Farrer and Oscar Gutierrez made a charming duo as Clara and the Nutcracker Prince.

The show was directed by Cheryle Armstrong, the founder of North County Dance and Performing Arts and Class Act Dance. Armstrong grew up in Washington D.C., and said that it was her intention to bring high quality dance and performing arts to North County, as she noticed there was a sore lack in the area, despite an abundance of talent.

Armstrong said that many of her dancers are 4.0 students, and the cast had been practicing six times per week. She said that her favorite part about putting on productions such as The Nutcracker, is to be able to see the friendships that form amongst the cast. “Its really like one big family,” she said. “I think they will start going through withdrawals after it’s over.”

 

 

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