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On pointe
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Uncle Drosselmeyer, Chad McGee, and his helper, Gracie Brock, distribute toys to children at the family Christmas party.

"The lovely and graceful art of ballet was evident during the presentation of “The Nutcracker Fantasy” by students of Paula’s Dance Academy. The historic Park Theater’s opulent setting is the perfect location for the 125-year-old ballet, which originally hit the stage in 1892 in Russia.

With a cast of 55 members of varying ages, viewers were able to enjoy the antics of the younger ones, while appreciating the more experienced dancers and their talents.

“The Nutcracker ballet is full of wonder, illusion and magic,” said dance instructor Paula Barnes. “There’s nothing like making something so fascinating that will influence children in their development as dancers, as well as bringing this Christmas ballet classic to Warren County.”

This is the third year for the performance, sponsored by The Park Theatre Group, and co-directed by Barnes and Camryn Austin.

The story tells of young Clara and her family celebrating Christmas in the late 19th century. Uncle Drosselmeyer, magician and uncle to Clara, gifts her a unique Nutcracker doll. Uncle Drosselmeyer was played by Chad McGee, and Clara was beautifully presented by veteran dancer Allison Hudson.

Other elements enter the play when Clara falls asleep and through a magical spell, her dreams are transported to a fantasy world filled with a Mouse King, Livia Brewer, and his army of mice; toy soldiers and her beloved Nutcracker, Bree Smith, comes to life, transforming into a Prince, Garrett Gilliam

“This is the first time we’ve had a Prince,” said Barnes. “Garrett did a wonderful job with the part of the Prince, and added so much to the production.”

During her fantasy dream, Clara met the Snow Queen portrayed by Anaston Chisam, the sea Fairy Queen played by Mary Humphrey and the Sugar Plum Fairy danced by Katie Sweeton.
“The Nutcracker Fantasy” was performed two consecutive nights to packed crowds enjoying the holiday tradition."