The Deerfield dance program will present The Nutcracker, a world renowned ballet and cherished annual tradition at Deerfield, this coming December.
The Nutcracker tells the story of Clara, a young girl who receives a nutcracker as a Christmas present. In a fantastical twist, the nutcracker is brought to life at the stroke of midnight. After Clara saves him in a fierce battle, he brings her through a series of wondrous realms — including, for example, the Land of the Sweets.
Here in Deerfield, Massachusetts, the collaboration between The Bement School and Deerfield Academy of The Nutcracker first premiered in 2012. It has since grown to include two ensembles and two co-curricular groups as well as the middle school dancers from the Bement School. Ms. Jennifer Whitcomb, director of the Deerfield dance program, stated, “I think it’s a nod to the importance of ballet in our curriculum. We’ve never had a performance dedicated solely to ballet, which is a shame considering how much classical training is integrated into our program.”
Ms. Carrie Towle, the Deerfield ballet director, and Ms. Julia Chen, her counterpart at Bement, have already begun working together to plan this year’s performance. Ms. Towle described, “There’s a lot of planning that goes into the production, especially with the inclusion of the Bement kids. But, as a ballet specialist, this is one of my favorite shows in the entire year. It’s amazing to see everyone bond over such an amazing story and tradition.”
Megan Martino ’18, a member of the Advanced Dance Ensemble, recounted, “I’ve been in The Nutcracker since I was back at Bement for the first ever production. I still remember coming to Deerfield as a middle school student and seeing the Deerfield dancers really inspired me to continue with my own training. I’ve loved seeing how it grows every year.” This year, Martino will be playing the role of the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker.
Quinn Soucy ’19, another member of the Advanced Dance Ensemble, added, “It’s amazing that we do it with the Bement children. Seeing them so happy is one of the best parts of the show.”
Moving forward, Ms. Whitcomb plans to include other performing arts, such as live music, in The Nutcracker as well. Mr. Thomas Bergeron, director of orchestra and chamber music, informed, “We are hoping to perform two movements, ‘Marzipan’ and ‘Waltz of the Flowers’ along with the dancers on Monday in connection with the ‘Revels and Carols’ event at the Hess Center.”
Ms. Whitcomb confirmed, “We are excited to see where a merging of the performance arts can take us.”
Soucy elaborated on the importance and uniqueness of the The Nutcracker tradition at Deerfield, elucidating, “For me, the holiday period would not be the same without The Nutcracker.”