Arcade Elementary Featuring 'Vignettes from Nutcracker'
by Jessica Dillon, Batavia Daily News December 5, 2017
ARCADE — A whirlwind of candy canes, a flurry of snowflakes and a few sparkling fairies will sprinkle their Christmas magic across the stage of Arcade Elementary later this month, when the New York State Ballet presents “Vignettes from The Nutcracker.”
Each grand battement, jete and chasse will raise funds for Charlotte House, a new comfort care home expected to open in Wyoming County next summer.
The home is named after Charlotte Smallwood, a former Wyoming County resident, believed to be New York’s first woman district attorney, who was heartbroken to have to spend her last days in a county she’d never called home. Tim Kibler, president of the Charlotte House board, hopes to help her legacy live on in the former rectory of Holy Family Parish in North Java.
“We’ve been in the mode of raising awareness and raising money,” Kibler said. “We’re always looking for something new and different that people are going to want to go and do, something that’s not been done in Wyoming County before.”
And because Kibler happens to be acquainted with one of the New York State Ballet dancers, inviting the non-profit, formed in 2014, to perform in an area near and dear to him just made sense, he said.
“It was just a matter of having all the pieces fall into place,” Kibler said. “They were very excited to come out to Wyoming County and we felt Pioneer would be the perfect venue for us to go to.”
This will be the ballet’s first Wyoming County appearance, but the willingness of the dancers to venture out in support of a good cause is nothing new, said Ballet Master Rob Royce.
Just last week, the ballet performed for a nursing home, and the week before that, visited Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester.
“The Children’s Hospital is one of the favorite shows I’ve ever done,” Royce said. “The kids were just so excited.”
Clara, the Nutcracker Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy twirled through the halls there. On Dec. 17, they’ll be flanked by at least a dozen more dancers, each in full costume and makeup, to perform a large portion of the ballet’s second act on the 315 Main St. stage.
To bring out the full crew and set pieces just wouldn’t be cost-effective, Royce explained, but added that to get just a taste of the full performance might not be such a bad thing. They’re bringing out some child performers, too.
“It’s actually kind of really exciting because the audience will be getting all the excitement of the ballet,” Royce said. “It’s really nice when we can go out and kind of show our wares in straight ballet form, with the big lifts and all of that added stuff.”
Whether performing in a formal theater or on an elementary school stage, the ballet aims to offer “true classical ballet performances of the highest caliber.” That’s something Royce happily corroborates.
“It takes decades to prepare for a show like this,” Royce joked. “No, but it feels that way sometimes.”
In actuality, the dancers spend six to eight weeks preparing, but the days are long, Royce said.
“These dancers, we work every day,” Royce said. “We’re in the studio from 9 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon. Being able to bring a professional-level production to an event like this is really a pleasure for us. So often we end up just going to the theater and doing our shows ... being able to bring the company out and have them interact with another community is really special for us.”
And it’s something that’s special for local organizations, too. Java Farm Supply, King’s Agriseed, Creekside Fabrics, Quilts and Yarns, Empire Distributing, Martin Brothers Chevrolet, Soul 2 Sole, Grace Worship Arts, Inc. and Five Star Bank all rallied to help sponsor the event.
“One of the nice parts about all of this is that it has been a great outpouring of support by local businesses and the community,” Kibler said. “It’s something new and different that we really want to make sure is successful. The businesses have faith in us and we have faith in them.”
The show begins Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children under 12 and free for children under 5.
“It’s a holiday tradition for us, and maybe we can help make it a holiday tradition for others, too,” Royce said. “Anyone coming out will immediately get into the holiday spirit, and I hope that we can help spread that.”