GHS Nutcracker

GHS Nutcracker

Tori Kelley, Staff Writer

Darkness engulfs the theater as the lights are dimmed; the only light present is the subtle glow emitting from the emergency exit lights. A single spot light flickers on, creating a fine circle against the curtain. The burgundy fabric flutters to the side, slightly opening as the Mouse King appears, clad in his royal garb, golden bejeweled crown and all. Quiet applause ripples through the theater, breaking the silence. The voice of the Mouse King rings out, echoing through the audience, welcoming everyone and introducing the show.

Every year, in the beginning of December, Goffstown High School’s Movement and Dance Company (MODACO) puts on a performance of the Children’s Nutcracker. All of the members of MODACO and many of the Introduction to Dance class members participate in the crowd pleasing favorite. For months leading up the show, the performers participate in extensive rehearsals. When show night arrives, the dancers are released from class at one o’clock to begin one final rehearsal session. They run through the show a few times before the dancers all disperse to get their makeup and costumes on. Crowded into the music wing hallway, the girls peer into mirrors, pressed together shoulder to shoulder, trying to jam as many girls as possible into the field of view of the mirror. Puffs of air steam up the glass due to the proximity of the faces. Foundation and blush are thick, fake lashes stick, fall off, stick again. And then, finally, finally the time has come. The theater lights flicker off, the audience stills and the dancers flock to the wings, listening for their cue to enter the stage. A quiet clicking noise emanates as the curtain is pulled open. The dancers, dressed as maids, flood the stage and immediately break into beautifully synchronized steps. Small children, teachers and parents, acting as family members in the show, rush down the aisles and up the stairs, filling the stage to its capacity. As a cohesive whole, every right foot on stage stomps on the first beat of the new song, signaling the beginning of the classic Lindy-hop party scene.

Performer Nicole Fillmore comments that right before the show, she felt no nervousness. She says the she “did [her] best to be a part of something like this” and she knows that she is prepared. Some dancers share this same sentiment, consumed only by excitement, while others try in vain to calm their jittery nerves.

The end of the intermission is marked by the flick of the lobby lights and the audience members peel themselves away from their conversations and the treats in the lobby and file back to their seats. The switch from Act I to Act II also brings about a shift from large party scene-style dances to solo and small number ballet scenes as Clara (Julia Delisle), and the Nutcracker Prince (J Daniel Silvestre), are escorted to the Land of Sweets by the Snow Queen (Katherine Carlson). The Snow Queen is accompanied by her Angels in an elegant dance with a brief moment of humor between the littles and the male dancers. The soft glow of the lights highlights the smiles in the faces of the dancers and the glitter sprinkled on the airy costumes. As the Angels disappear into the wings, Chloe Castellano, adorned in a soft pink gown, whirls across the stage and, with a wave of her wand, littles tumble out from behind the curtains to join her, twirling and turning, smiles lighting up their faces. Following the Sugar Plum Fairy is Spanish Hot Chocolate, an upbeat salsa. Couples twirl across the stage, red skirts billowing around fleeting feet. Seemingly as soon as it begins, the red skirts and roses bustle off of the stage and the lights on the stage dim and a teal glow emits from the stage as the Arabian Coffee dancers pace across the stage. The movements of these dancers are slow, deliberate, as they move with sharp synchronized precision. A low murmuring of approval rumbles through the audience as Liz Scanlan is hoisted into the air by Zach Provost. After the Arabian Coffee dancers exit the stage, Nicole Fillmore and Kylie Bryant enter, followed by many littles, all ready to perform The Russian Candy Cane dance. Two minutes of quick steps and jumps later, the Russian dancers are swept off stage to make way for Mother Ginger and her Polichinelles. Finally, the Flowers trail onto the stage, beginning the dance to wish farewell to Clara and the Nutcracker Prince. Feet are light on the stage as the dancers glide nimbly from place to place with great precision. Flowers exit through the wings one by one, and in their wake, the leads of each dance replace them, offering their final goodbyes to Clara and the Nutcracker Prince.

Applause erupts, filling the auditorium. Audience members turn to one another and exclamations of approval can be heard over and through the nearly deafening applause. The chatter continues out into the hallway where the audience waits for the performers. Many audience members love to see all the performers flood the lobby and celebrate after the show. Audience member Marty Kelley comments that “it is so great to see [all the performers come out to the lobby] at the end of the show.”