Arts and Entertainment

‘Nutcracker’ comes to life

By JANICE RANDALL

Vashon Allied Arts

The Nutcracker Ballet has become synonymous with holiday season traditions. Dance companies of all sizes around the world present the timeless ballet to the unforgettable strains of Tchaikovsky’s famous music.

Blue Heron Dance Company, with more than 50 dancers ages 6 to 18, will present their “Nutcracker” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5 and 6, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at the Vashon High School theater.

Blue Heron Dance Company, under the artistic direction of Christine Juarez, consists of dancers who commit significant additional rehearsal time toward the annual production.

For two Vashon High School seniors, Sami Ressler and Shannon Hennessey, this year’s performance will be bittersweet — it is their last Blue Heron Dance “Nutcracker.”

Both young women have danced in more than a dozen previous “Nutcracker” ballets and remember being inspired by Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutcracker” as little girls.

“I remember being in awe of the snowflakes,” said Ressler.

As luck would have it, Ressler danced as the Snow Queen last year, her favorite part to date.

“Waltz of the Flowers” was the unanimous choice of favorite group dances.

“We have all put a lot of effort into perfecting it,” said Hennessey.

Both girls have been dancing at the Blue Heron since they were barely old enough to walk and talk.

“Dance has been a huge part of my life,” said Hennessey. “Dance helps me focus. We have all grown up together, and it has created bonds that will last a long time.”

Ressler said dance has helped her be more creative, encouraged her love of music and given her the ability to test and discipline herself.

“I am hoping the college I attend has some sort of dance group, club or even classes. I would love a chance to continue dancing,” she said.

Hennessey also hopes to incorporate dance into her life beyond high school.

Tickets are available for Blue Heron Dance Company’s “Nutcracker Ballet” at $10 for Vashon Allied Arts members, students and seniors, and $13 general admission at the Blue Heron, Heron’s Nest, Thriftway and Books by the Way. Call to reserve at 463-5131.

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