One of the season’s most fabled and beloved shows, The Nutcracker, has also become a Mason holiday tradition, performed by dancers from the Mason Dance Center (MDC). This year’s presentation celebrates the 20th anniversary of MDC’s rendition of the classic Tchaikovsky ballet they call The Nutcracker-All Jazzed Up!
Bobbi Wyatt, owner and director of MDC explains, “We call it The Nutcracker-All Jazzed Up! because we perform Tchaikovsky’s traditional music along with many different arrangements from sources such as Pentatonix, Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington. The basic storyline is still there, but we keep it interesting and fun by switching the music and including many styles of dance. There’s always something new each year.”
In 2001, MDC was performing excerpts from The Nutcracker in various venues around town. Bobbi tells us, “While performing outside in terrible weather that year, we decided it was time to move inside. A week later a parent from our dance group asked if we could help support the Mason High School After Prom committee’s efforts and I suggested our Nutcracker performance. Now 20 years later, we have donated around $120,000 to the after-prom event.”
Mason Dance Center opened its doors in 1995 under Bobbi’s leadership when her young daughters Emily and Amanda found themselves without a studio nearby to further their dance training. Now Emily serves as MDC’s ballet program director and Amanda is the school director. About 400 students are enrolled during a typical school year in programs including ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, modern, hip-hop, acrobatic and musical theater. MDC also offers a pre-professional ballet program and is active in dance competitions.
This year’s performances of The Nutcracker-All Jazzed Up! will be on December 18th at 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. in the Mason High School theater. The show features 109 dancers in groups and solos ages 7-18, mostly from the competition and pre-professional ballet programs, and about 40 ‘extras’ representing dancers ages 3-7.
“We work on the show nearly year-round,” Bobbi notes. “Our teachers along with Amanda and Molly Gilbert, our competition team director, create the choreography and the students work on their performances in their classes from September until the show opens in December.”
“One fun thing we do to let the dancers know what part they have, is we put a colorful sign in their yard that says, ‘A Nutcracker cast member lives here.’ Instead of just posting a cast list, they are surprised in a special way that everyone can see,” Bobbi relates.
MDC student and Mason High School senior Sienna Mancini shares, “The Nutcracker has always been my favorite show to perform. I've worked my way through the roles. This year I'm honored to perform the lead, the Sugarplum Fairy. The studio functions like a family. I adore talking with young dancers and being a positive role model. I hope my dedication and passion are displayed on stage this December.”
The 20th-anniversary performance of The Nutcracker-All Jazzed Up! could be the best hour you spend this holiday season: highly entertaining, affordable and all the proceeds support Mason’s after-prom event.
For tickets and information about Mason Dance Center please visit MasonDance.com.
“We call it The Nutcracker-All Jazzed Up! because we perform Tchaikovsky’s traditional music along with many different arrangements…. The basic storyline is still there, but we keep it interesting and fun by switching the music and including many styles of dance.” - Bobbi Wyatt, Owner and Director, Mason Dance Center