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Farmington, West Bloomfield

‘The Nutcracker’ remains a holiday tradition for local family

November 26, 2013

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Madalyn Geletzke, 17, dances as Dewdrop Nov. 24 at the Barbara Hatch School Of Dance during a rehearsal for their upcoming performance of “The Nutcracker.”

Mercy High School sophomore Erica Grinsell is ready to dance in the spotlight again in “The Nutcracker Ballet,” which tells the story of a little girl named Clara who falls asleep on Christmas Eve after a party at her home and dreams of a world where toys literally become larger than life.

Her Nutcracker, who also comes to life, defends her from the Mouse King and then is turned into a Prince after Clara saves his life.

“Last year, I was Clara, and I loved being in it,” the 15-year-old Farmington Hills resident said of performing in the “Nutcracker Ballet” for a number of years. “I love dancing and stuff.”

This year, Grinsell will be a dancer in the Dec. 14-15 performance, produced by the Barbara Hatch School of Dance, 33305 Grand River Ave. in Farmington, and co-directed by Hatch and Barbara Bouchard, co-choreographer instructor at the dance school.

“The Nutcracker” is based on the book called “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” written by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1816, set to Tchaikovsky’s music in 1892. 

“The Nutcracker” is scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 14-15 in the West Bloomfield High School auditorium, 4925 Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield Township.

Tickets are $16 in advance at the dance studio and $18 at the door.

Described as an annual holiday tradition, “The Nutcracker” has been a part of Farmington since the early ’90s, Hatch said.

“After multiple years, we decided to do our own ‘Nutcracker’ show right here in Farmington,” Hatch said. “Our first ‘Nutcracker’ was in 1993, and it has just kind of grown from there.”

After auditions were held in August, the cast was selected in September, giving them about 11 weeks to practice before the curtains open.

Hatch said a lot of families and parents whose children no longer attend the dance school still come back and perform.

She said it is because of a lot of “rich traditions” remain in the community, and people love performing, ballet and the studio.

“I am so fortunate that way,” she said.

One family has been involved with “The Nutcracker” since 2005 and plans to come back for more.

Farmington Hills resident Laurie Hinckley and her three daughters play various roles in the production, which has made the experience more memorable, she said.

“It is a lot of fun. It is a lot of work, too,” said Hinckley, who plays a maid this year. “This has become a holiday tradition for us. It is fun and very rewarding when you get to complete the show and perform in front of everyone.”

Hinckley’s daughter Abby, 9, said opening night is the most exciting part for her.

“I really like that nervous part you get, like when you are about to go onstage,” the Highmeadow Common Campus School fourth-grader said.

Abby Hinckley said the final bow also gives her a really good feeling.

“You’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I really did it. It is all over now.’” 

Her sister Grace, 11, said she performs in several scenes, but she is most excited about the party scene because there is so much to see.

“That is when the Nutcracker breaks, when Clara falls asleep, and soldiers and the mice come,” the Power Upper Elementary School fourth-grader said. “It is really fun to see what they do. I hope that people get that we enjoy it, because it is really fun.”

The oldest sibling, Claire, 15 and a Harrison High School sophomore, plays several parts, including a flower, an icicle and a caroler. She said that she is glad to do something different this year and connect with her characters through dance.

“Every year, you get a new part, and it is just really fun to be able to dance around in different scenes and take that part of the character,” she said. “It is such a great experience to have and be a part of something. … When everyone is clapping (at the end), you feel so accomplished.”

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