Nutcracker performances scheduled for weekend

Su-Lin Banks knows that when the dancers at The Center of the Performing Arts in Havelock have a tough rehearsal, they get something from it in the end.

Banks’ 10-year-old daughter Allegra is one of 120 children and 40 adults who have been working for months to prepare for the organization’s winter performance of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet.

“When students want to pursue something and they are striving to be the best that they can be in whatever their craft is, whether it is music, sports, dance, there has to be a certain level of expectation,” Banks said.

Mary Beth Beasley is the owner of the center and lead ballet instructor to students from age 2 to 70.

“Miss Beth is tough sometimes, but there has not been a time that the children have not risen to the occasion and they have worked very hard,” Banks said.

Beasley said as children get older, expectations increase.

“A lot of the kids are moving up into the older roles and a lot more is expected of them,” Beasley said. “Dance doesn’t get easier, but it does get better,” Beasley said.

Christy MacLaird’s 11-year-old daughter Noelle is a participant.

“This is one of the best things that I think Havelock has for the youth,” she said.

Banks said the performances are great for her daughter.

“The discipline that she gets through dance here at the center is unparalleled,” she said.

Kaelyn Swanner, 11, is performing in the show.

“Miss Beth pushes us to keep on trying to have it all together,” she said. “During class, we start a song and then we stop because we have to fix something, but during recital it seems so short and everything’s hectic when you’re done, and it all comes together and it looks beautiful.”

Swanner said the rigor of practice teaches her how to be organized, but also takes her mind away from tough days.

“When I’m on stage I feel like I’m somebody different,” she said. “I’m in my own little world and pretty costumes and stuff. It’s just somewhere for me to be to bring out my compassionate self.”

Delany Walker, 10, enjoys the shows.

“I love dancing and I love participating in it every year,” she said.

Harley Bonner, 11, said dancing helped her overcome stage fright.

“The first time, it was pretty scary,” Bonner said. “The second or third time I finally got used to it. And then it became like a magical thing and I loved it.”

Cade Foster Bolzs plays the Nutcracker in the performance.

“I was looking for something to do when I wasn’t playing any sports,” he said. “It’s challenging on my legs. My calves usually don’t get this kind of a workout, a lot of jumping and turns.”

Bolz said he practices the steps at home.

“I can’t mess up,” Bolzs said. “I have to do my best.”

Performances of The Nutcracker and the companion show Nutz about Christmas are at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at The Havelock Performing Arts Center at Havelock High School. Tickets at the door are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

For more information on The Center of the Performing Arts, call 349-0259.