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Metropolitan School of Arts Presents Nutcracker Featuring Ukrainian Folk Dancers

ballerina in sugar plum fairy costume
Sara Yoon will be dancing the part of Sugar Plum Fairy. (All Photos courtesy MSA)

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA–With great anticipation, The Metropolitan School Of The Arts is returning with its stage performance of The Nutcracker. The show will feature Ukrainian Folk Dance performances in an effort to raise awareness of the Ukrainian relief efforts. The show will be performed at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall, 4915 East Campus Drive.

The MSA will be replacing the Russian musical suite with Ukrainian folk dance as a part of the Act II Celebrations. This is done to show support for all of those suffering in Ukraine and Russia. Colleen Prince, a dancer/choreographer from the Carpathia Folk Dance Ensemble of Washington D.C. was invited to be help choreograph the MSA production of The Nutcracker.  

The Russian invasion of Ukraine started on February 24, 2022. This resulted in thousands of Ukrainians having to flee to the west of their country and abroad. Over 6,400 deaths and 9,800 injuries have been reported as of October 30, 2022. Cities have been destroyed and thousands of people are homeless and destitute.

boy ballet dancer does a jump
Erik Peyton rehearses for his role.

This year’s performance will include 140 Metropolitan School of The Arts students. Dancing the role of The Sugar Plum Fairy and will be Meghan Ore, a sophomore at MSA who recently attended The Houston Ballet Summer Intensive.  Jacob Anderson, a sophomore who attended the Netherlands Dance Theatre Summer Program will be dancing the role of The Cavalier.  Seniors Justin Roach and Erik Payton will be dancing the role of the Nutcracker Prince. They will be auditioning for top musical theater colleges. While attending the MSA College Preparatory Performing Arts Academy, all three boys studied and are well versed in all genres including dance, acting, and singing.

The Nutcracker Ballet, based on the story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, was written in 1816 as a short story by E.T.A. Hoffman. The story was choreographed into a ballet by French ballet dancer Marius Petipa. The Nutcracker Ballet was actually based on the revision by a well-known French author named Alexander Dumas. This Christmas favorite has long been entertaining ballet enthusiasts all over the world. The story of Clara and her magical nutcracker has gone from a German fairytale and French novel to a Russian ballet. 

Audiences can join Clara on her journey as she finds a way to break the curse placed upon The Nutcracker Prince. They witness the battle scene between The Mouse Queen and the Nutcracker followed by an encounter with the Snow Queen and her dancing snowflakes. The dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy will dazzle the audience with her dancing in the Land of Sweets, along with Flowers, Butterflies, Chinese Dances, Arabian Princesses and more. She awakens from her dream with her beloved Nutcracker underneath her Christmas tree. 

boy ballet dancer gets ready in nutcracker costume
Justin Roach plays the Cavalier in this year’s Nutcracker.

“The students are energized to bring our annual Nutcracker to the stage in glorious, professionally designed costumes,” says Jacqueline Doherty, the artistic director of the Nutcracker and the youth ballet of the Metropolitan School of the Arts in Alexandria, Virginia. “We support all people who have been affected by this war and hope to continue to bring awareness to this crisis.”

The Metropolitan School of the Arts is a non-profit organization that relies heavily on the generous donations of its sponsors and from the community in order to sustain operations for the Academy and studio programming. Young performers and artists in grades 7 to 12 attending the performing arts school receive rigorous academic experience with training in in dance, music, and acting skills in hopes to become a triple threat in the arts world. The school also offers a post-graduation gap program as well for student who desire an extra year of training before attending a performing arts university.

The Metropolitan School of the Arts Nutcracker performance is in good company with several other projects taken on by local Alexandria businesses to help in the Ukrainian war relief efforts. These businesses include Department of Beer and Wine, Lorien Hotel and Spa, Old Town Books, Tequila and Taco, Sweet Fire Donnas, Whiskey and Oyster, Shop Made in VA and She’s Unique just to name a few. The George Washington Masonic Memorial lit up the skies in a brilliant gold and blue to symbolize the Ukrainian flag in February 2022.

Tickets for The Metropolitan School of the Arts performance of the Nutcracker tickets range from $30.00 to $32.00. For more information on purchasing tickets go to metropolitanarts.org

[SEE ALSO: Burke & Herbert Bank Launches Share the Warmth Coat Drive]

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