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Local Kids Grow Up Performing in Nutcracker Ballet

Harbor Ballet Theatre celebrates 21st year performing the classic holiday show.

The magic returns as the Harbor Ballet Theatre takes the stage in an enchanting performance of the holiday classic, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.

Comprised of over 100 local dancers the company is celebrating its 21st year performing the ballet featuring Tony Award Nominee and American Ballet Theater soloist Ashley Tuttle in the lead role of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Since its first performance in 1892, “Nutcracker” has become an American holiday tradition, captivating audiences with its stirring score, lavish sets, rich costumes and magical scenes. The delight of the audience both young and old is evident as they journey with Clara to a rich world full of all the sweets and joys the holidays promise us.

What makes this company so distinctive is its dedication to the local community, which manifests in scholarships for students and wishes for sick children. Equally important is the way the company develops their students growing strong bonds and passion for the arts. The chant of the dancers, many who have grown up performing the Nutcracker together, can be heard rising over the Broadway style sets before the show. "Energy, energy, fun, fun, smile, smile, smile", becomes the passion that electrifies onstage.

The dedication goes further amongst performers.

“Between shows is when we are really bonded,” said Ryan Worrell, who dances the role of the Prince, “Everyone is laughing and comparing notes, then you get the cast call and you feel that rush of excitement.”

Dancers are afforded the opportunity to learn the tricks of the show’s magical moments, and the art of acting and dancing by taking inspiration from other dancers.

“I remember my first show performing as an Angel when I was seven. I was watching the girl dancing Clara and wishing that someday I could do that,” said Abigail Bossert, who is performing as Clara this year.

No one is sitting alone as they hurry through makeup and costume changes.

“I have always felt that Harbor Ballet Theatre was a family and I am learning this first hand performing along side my sons,” said Amy Tyler, co-owner of the studio whose instruction has lead students to professional careers with the American Ballet Theater in New York City.

The Harbor Ballet Theatre of Port Jefferson presents four performances of The Nutcracker — Nov. 30 (8 p.m.), Dec. 1 (3 and 8 p.m.) and 2 (3 p.m.). Performances will take place at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, 350 Old Post Road, Port Jefferson. Admission is $22. Group rates are available. For further information about "The Nutcracker," call the Harbor Ballet Theatre at (631) 331-3149.

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