Sandhills Area Dancers Perform Lead Roles in 'Nutcracker'
The timeless holiday tradition of "The Nutcracker" comes to life on the stage of the Hayworth Fine Arts Center Dec. 18-21 on the campus of High Point University.
Under the direction of artistic director and award-winning choreographer, Gary Taylor, this year's production features several talented area dancers.
Meagan Powell, of Carthage, and Elizabeth Fowle, of Southern Pines, perform the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Jeremy Huggins, of Aberdeen, dances Cavalier, and Kathryn Hasty, of Pinehurst, performs in the Party Scene, Soldier and Russian Character. Alexis Whitecar portrays the lead character of Clara, and Killian Poplyk of Pinehurst is the Nutcracker Prince.
"'The Nutcracker' has been my favorite show since I was a little girl," says Powell. "High Point Ballet has given me the opportunity of sharing the same magic I experienced. I have danced with HPB for six years, and in that time, I have learned important life skills such as time management, self-discipline and setting goals. All these things have helped me tremendously as I attend Salem College as a freshman this year."
Fowle says that 'Nutcracker' is a holiday tradition for her.
"In the hot summer months, I look forward to performing this magical winter show," she says. "Seeing the eyes of young children light up as they watch the performance, or as they spy their favorite characters, reminds me of the magic of the holiday season. It is the little things in life that have the greatest impact. Just one smile from the Sugar Plum Fairy could inspire a young girl to dance, and for me, such things define the holiday season."
Huggins says that 'Nutcracker' was his inspiration to dance.
"When I was four years old I attended a performance of 'Nutcracker' with my mother," he says. "We had gone to watch my cousin perform her roles in 'Nutcracker.' Gary Taylor was the guest artist for the performance in the role of the Cavalier. At that very moment I knew I wanted to start taking dance classes and training. I did my first performance with the High Point Ballet's 'Nutcracker' when I was 12 years old. Rita and Gary Taylor have done a lot for me, including opening the doors for me to attend the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts for high school, and now for college. One of my dreams, since watching Gary dance many years ago, was to perform the same role -- Cavalier. My time has arrived."
Hasty has been dancing for eight years.
"I love it," she says. "The Hayworth Fine Arts Center at High Point University is so beautiful, and I can't wait to perform in 'Nutcracker.'"
Alexis Whitecar has truly reached the Land of Sweets. Just like many other dancers who have performed the role of Clara, Alexis is thrilled and considers this a dream come true. Whitecar has been training with the Taylors since the age of three.
"It's exciting, and this most definitely will be one of my favorite roles," she says. "My favorite scene is when Clara receives the Nutcracker. Her joy and excitement at receiving this wonderful gift from Herr Drosselmeyer is the energy that drives the character and the entire production. I don't think about the audience when I'm dancing. I try to think about the character and her responses. It allows your emotions and reactions to be real, honest and in the moment."
For Killian Poplyk the 'Nutcracker' experience has been a wonderful opportunity.
"Watching and working with so many experienced dancers has helped my confidence and dancing a lot," he says.
Full feature performances are Dec 18-20, at 7:30 p.m. and Dec 21 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $22 for students and children under 12 years old.
For ticket information, call the High Point Ballet Ticket Center at (336) 889-9121.
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