By Elizabeth Keys
STILLWATER, Okla. —
One last time — that was the cry from Hunter Jones, Sienna Hughes and Bailey Sagersa. Visions of sugar plums have danced in their heads since they were toddlers learning first position at Rhythm Alley Dance Studio. As seniors at Perkins High School now, they knew this year may be the last time they could perform the “Nutcracker” together. The trio had taken a hiatus from annual Nutcracker ballet performances during the past three years to concentrate on out-of-state dance competitions.
So what’s a mother to do? Barbara Orr Jones, Hunter’s mom and director of Rhythm Alley Dance Studio, answered the call and is producing a traditional Tchaikowsky Nutcracker this season starring Sagersa as the Dew Drop Fairy, Hughes as the Snow Queen and her daughter as the Sugar Plum Fairy.
“The girls started out as mice and graduated to the party scene,” Jones said. “All three will be mechanical dolls, too.”
The trio will take the audience on a magical mystery tour to the Kingdom of Sweets with the one and only Rhythm Alley Nutcracker Prince, Gavin Guthrie, from Stillwater High School. The Oklahoma City Dance Center will provide guest male artists in several roles including the Snow Queen’s cavalier. Landry Bledsoe will dance the role of Clara. With a cast of more than 40 from surrounding communities, classical orchestral music recorded by the Royal Opera House will accompany the ballet dancers.
Jones is excited to present the “Nutcracker” again because the real roots of Rhythm Alley are in performance since she graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Dance. Some of the choreography showcased in this weekend’s presentation was created by the late Miguel Terekhov who along with his wife, Oklahoma Native American ballerina Yvonne Chouteau, founded OU’s program, one of the first fully accredited curricula in dance in the United States. Both Terekhov and Chouteau were principal dancers with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and passed the classical traditions to university students like Jones.
“It’s important for these seniors to get back to the traditions of performance and be on stage together,” Jones said. “Dancing is an art form — it’s about giving and sharing.”
Rhythm Alley’s performances are 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Dec. 8 in the Stillwater Community Center, 315 W. Eighth Ave. Admission is $5 with tickets available at the door or by calling 405-614-5576.
A contemporary “Nutcracker Dream” presented by the Art of Dance will mix modern and classical dance at 7 p.m. Friday in the Oklahoma State University Seretean Center. Shelby Eidson is directing the production with the assistance of Cylene Walker-Willis and Valerie de Renard.
“Some of the scenes are switched with different styles of dance from around the world,” said de Renard.
Carrie Tillett, an Oklahoma State University senior who has performed all four years in the Nutcracker Dream, will dance dual roles of Winter Forest Queen and Fairy Forest Queen. Stillwater High School student Katie O’Connell will dance the role of Clara.
Tickets for the “Nutcracker Dream” are available for $5 at the door or by calling 405-714-1355.