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"The Nutcracker" comes to JBLM

Treat your children to an event they'll remember for years to come

Dacy Emmons, 9 years old, rehearses for her role as Clara in this year’s SKIESUnlimited production of The Nutcracker. Photo credit: Kristi Berry

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Share a cherished holiday tradition with your family this year at SKIESUnlimited's second annual performance of The Nutcracker. This beloved ballet captures the magic of the season with beautiful music, dancing, scenery and costumes.

Performances will be held Dec. 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. at the Evergreen Theater on Lewis Main. Tickets can be purchased for $5 at Leisure Travel Services or the day of the event at the theater.

"We're honored to offer our military families a professional, affordable performance of The Nutcracker right here on post," said Cindy Arnold, SKIESUnlimited director. "Last year was our first full performance of The Nutcracker, and I was overjoyed with what was created by everyone who took part in it. This year will be even better. It's a labor of love for everyone involved. They work really hard to make this happen. It's magic."

Bringing this holiday classic to JBLM families was the vision of SKIESUnlimited Dance Department Head Mel Massey. Miss Mel, as she is affectionately known by her students, has been with SKIESUnlimited for three years. She danced professionally for more than 10 years and has been teaching dance for 12 years.

"The Nutcracker is one of my most cherished holiday memories," she said when asked why she decided to oversee this ambitious project. "I wanted to create something big to make people feel happy and inspired."

The process began with auditions in September. More than 50 children and seven adults were cast, including boys and girls ages 4 to 13 and several dancing moms and dads. Nine-year-old Dacy Emmons will dance this year's lead role of Clara. The Nutcracker will be played by 10-year-old Jonathon Keyes. Abbey Morehead, a professional dancer and advanced ballet teacher at SKIESUnlimited, will delight the audience as the Sugar Plum Fairy.  

Hard work has paid off for Dacy. Last year, she danced as a flower. After a year of practicing almost daily, she earned her chance to play Clara. Of her role, she said, "It's so fun. My favorite part is dancing with the Nutcracker."

The production is truly a family affair. Not only are parents and children dancing together, but the scenery and costumes are handmade by Miss Mel and parents who have been happily sewing and hot gluing for months. Volunteers will also manage the lighting and stage production.

The two-hour performance includes two acts and a 15-minute intermission.  Act one takes place at a Christmas party and features a growing tree and an epic battle between toy soldiers and mice. In act two, the Nutcracker Prince takes Clara on a magical journey to the Land of Sweets where they are entertained by the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The Nutcracker has something for everyone from dancing snowflakes and fairies to comedy and sword fights. It's an event sure to entertain the entire family.

The Nutcracker, 7 p.m., Dec. 8 and 9; 2 p.m., Dec. 10, Evergreen Theater, 3405 2nd Division Dr., Lewis Main, 253.477.2757, $5 at Leisure Travel Services, open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, 2272 Liggett Ave., Lewis Main, 253.967.3085,

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