OHIO VALLEY — Christmas trees, light displays and parades are all time-honored holiday traditions in Mason County, but for some, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without The Nutcracker. Ohio River Dance is bringing the Tchaikovsky’s timeless classic to the Point Pleasant area this weekend. Instructor Bree Ramey said her dancers, from all over the region, have worked hard to prepare for the show.
“We have had three full rehearsals so far and we have two more before Sunday’s performance,” Ramey said. “The kids have put in quite a bit of work. We’ve had a lot of private lessons and a lot of rehearsal time and extra practices.”
Ramey said this is the third time Ohio River Dance has performed The Nutcracker in the studio’s fourteen year run, and she plans to keep the ballet as close to Tchaikovsky’s storyline as possible. The group has also performed other ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, but Ramey said The Nutcracker is her favorite ballet.
“I’m very excited. I think it’s going to be a great performance,” Ramey said. “We have made one change. We don’t have a young boy to play Clara’s brother Franz, so she will have a little sister who breaks the nutcracker doll.”
One dancer has been in all three of the productions. Ohio River Dance Alumna Lori Wooten joined the company in primary school and stayed with the group through her senior year of high school. She said she decided to come back and dance again.
“I absolutely missed dancing and being in recitals,” Wooten said. “When I saw that Bree had The Nutcracker auditions, I decided that I should come back and try because I really miss it and needed something to do outside of school.”
Wooten played the Snow Queen two years ago and was a member of “The Waltz of the Flowers” as an elementary school student. This year, she will take the stage as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Wooten said she thinks getting the role has brought her full-circle.
“It’s like a dream because the Sugar Plum Fairy is one of the most iconic roles,” Wooten said. “In the first performance, I was just a little girl in ‘The Waltz of the Flowers’ and now I’m the Sugar Plum Fairy.”
Ramey said although some performers such as Wooten have had years of practice, experience was not a requirement to participate in the show.
“The performers didn’t have to have dance experience to audition, so I have dancers who have only had a few lessons in the performance,” Ramey said.
One of these newcomers, Adriana Raymore, 9, was cast as the ballet’s main female role, Clara Staulbaum. Raymore has only been dancing since September and said she can’t wait for the show.
“When I went to the audition, I didn’t think I would get the part, so I’m really excited,” Raymore said. “Our teacher has been teaching us really well. I’m a little nervous because it’s my first dance recital and I have a solo. I had to work really hard to learn it.”
Raymore said she was glad to thrilled Clara at such a young age. She said she hopes playing Clara will send a message to other children her age.
“I think it lets kids know that they can do stuff if they try their best,” Raymore said. “I like dancing because when I start to get into the dance, it gives me a mood where I feel like I can do anything.”
Ramey said The Nutcracker is just part of the holiday schedule for the 40 members of Ohio River Dance. The group will also perform at the Mason County Family Christmas and the Hope for Hannah Pageant.
The Nutcracker will go on stage at the Trinity Church in Point Pleasant Sunday, December 8 at 2 p.m. Admission will be $7 for adults and $5 for children.