Spotlight on The Nutcracker

ArtsAlive MissionMoments
Bringing The Nutcracker to the Fox Cities P.A.C. stage has become somewhat of a holiday tradition in the community. In 2012, 2014 and now again in 2017, the production shines a spotlight on the Makaroff Youth Ballet and partners with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra to provide a live score, along with a local choir, to provide a live performance sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

“The Center was designed to be a gathering place for the community for a variety of events. That includes partnering with other arts organizations to support each other and ensure so many in our community can enjoy a variety of art forms in our building,” said Fox Cities P.A.C. director of programming and community engagement Amy Gosz. “Seeing Makaroff Youth Ballet, the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and this year the Appleton Boychoir come together means dozens and dozens of local artists demonstrating their amazing talents and it is our honor to present the opportunity to share that performance in the community.”

“From the moment construction was started on the Fox Cities P.A.C. in 2000, Ms. Jeanette Makaroff dreamed of being able to present a community production of The Nutcracker on the stage of the PAC as she watched the construction from the studio located across Walnut Street from the PAC. In 2012 that dream became reality, and through a shared vision, fundraising, and community collaboration, we are able to present The Nutcracker for the third time at the Fox Cities P.A.C. this December,” said Makaroff Youth Ballet’s executive director Katy Hopp. “The dancers of Makaroff Youth Ballet and students of the Makaroff School of Ballet are so incredibly honored to dance on the same stage where they see professional Broadway productions. The level of professionalism and commitment required of the dancers helps them to learn and grow as a result of the preparation required to present The Nutcracker on the P.A.C. stage to an audience of over 2,000 people. Above all, the excitement and awe of sharing the art of ballet with the community, in such a beautiful venue, is what dreams are made of for these young dancers.”

For returning dancer Kyle Davis, who visits from the Pacific Northwest Ballet to dance with the group he received his training with, as the Cavalier in this year’s production, the partnership the groups form backstage is equally as important.

“(My favorite memory at the Fox Cities P.A.C. is) seeing the exciting faces from the party children, mice and Mother Ginger’s children. Actually, just seeing everyone backstage grinning,” he said. “In the United States, The Nutcracker is generally the ballet that leads people to love the art. For most audience members it’s the first ballet seen, and for many dancers it is the first ballet they’ll perform. As a student you start in small roles and watch older dancers perform the more challenging numbers – the numbers you’ll start picking up as the years go on.”

Hopp explained that this partnership is also beneficial to the training and education of the dancers, allowing them to work on skills associated with live music and allowing them to experience performing in a larger space to a fuller audience.

“We are fortunate to live in an area that believes in the value the fine arts bring to our community,” Hopp said. “Thanks to partnerships with the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Appleton Boychoir, we are able to bring The Nutcracker to life with the wonderful talent that we have in the Fox Cities.”
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