“The Nutcracker” coming to life on Decatur stage



Decatur Community Dance members Jillian Hamilton, Molly Fuller, and Maya Roberts rehearse for “The Nutcracker” at Richland Community College’s Shilling Community Education Center in Decatur on Monday. The 26th annual production will be Dec. 2 through 4.


JOSEPH RESSLER, HERALD & REVIEW


DECATUR — The popular Christmas ballet “The Nutcracker” has been a yearly tradition for many in the community, but it holds a special place in the hearts of the dancers.

“I always thought watching the dancers in the pretty costumes was really fun,” said 16-year-old Decatur Community Dance performer Cori Metcalf.



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Decatur Community Dance member Molly Fuller, 16, rehearses for “The Nutcracker” at Richland Community College’s Shilling Community Education Center in Decatur on Monday. The 26th annual production will be Dec. 2 through 4.


JOSEPH RESSLER, HERALD & REVIEW


Now on stage for various parts, Cori gets to wear several of the beautiful outfits.

“The Nutcracker” will be on stage Dec. 2 through 4 at Richland Community College’ Shilling Auditorium.

The audience members are invited to bring a doll to any of the performances. A backdrop will be hung in the lobby for selfies with their dolls or a doll from the show.

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Cori Metcalf, 16, rehearses with other Decatur Community Dance members for “The Nutcracker” at Richland Community College’s Shilling Community Education Center in Decatur on Monday. The 26th annual production will be Dec. 2 through 4.


JOSEPH RESSLER, HERALD & REVIEW


The story of “The Nutcracker” follows a little girl whose doll comes to life when she falls asleep with her nutcracker. “They have these battle scenes,” said dancer Jillian Hamilton. “The nutcracker turns into a prince.”

Jillian will be on stage this year as a Spanish senorita, which brings a different style to the stage. “Yes, a lot of attitude,” she said. “Going from a young angel to a center role is very exciting.”



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Maya Roberts, 16, rehearses with other Decatur Community Dance members for “The Nutcracker” at Richland Community College’s Shilling Community Education Center in Decatur on Monday. The 26th annual production will be Dec. 2 through 4.


JOSEPH RESSLER, HERALD & REVIEW


Although still in their teens, several of the dancers from Decatur Community Dance have performed in the holiday show since they were small children. “I was one of the littles,” Cori said. “I was just happy to be in it.”



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Decatur Community Dance members Molly Fuller, Jillian Hamilton, and Maya Roberts rehearse for “The Nutcracker” at Richland Community College’s Shilling Community Education Center in Decatur on Monday. The 26th annual production will be Dec. 2 through 4.


JOSEPH RESSLER, HERALD & REVIEW


Being on stage performing the famous ballet can still bring butterflies to their stomachs. “I’m always nervous about it though,” Cori said.

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The local dance company has been performing the famous holiday ballet for 26 years. “Sometimes I think they like to see the kids as they grow up,” Artistic Director Nancy McReynolds said about the returning audiences.

Along with the stage performances, members of the Decatur Community Dance often visit assisted living facilities giving the residents opportunities to see portions of their show.



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Decatur Community Dance member Maya Roberts, 16, rehearses the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” for “The Nutcracker” at Richland Community College’s Shilling Community Education Center in Decatur on Monday. The 26th annual production will be Dec. 2 through 4.


JOSEPH RESSLER, HERALD & REVIEW


According to Amy Ziettlow, president of Decatur Community Dance, the dance company traditionally performs “The Nutcracker” in the fall. “In the spring we always do a full length, more classical ballet,” she said. “The company will also bring that to the nursing homes.”

In the past few years, the ballet dancers have been joined by actors from Mid-Summer Moon Productions, adding dialogue and a bigger cast on stage.



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Decatur Community Dance member Maya Roberts, 16, rehearses the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” for “The Nutcracker” at Richland Community College’s Shilling Community Education Center in Decatur on Monday. The 26th annual production will be Dec. 2 through 4.


JOSEPH RESSLER, HERALD & REVIEW


As a sugar plum fairy, dancer Maya Roberts will have a speaking part in the show. “I’ve been dancing all my life. So I definitely prefer dancing,” she said. “I’m not used to memorizing lines, and putting those emotions in my voice.”

The sets and costumes have added to the elaborate performances. “The sets are phenomenal,” McReynolds said. “They spiff them up each time.”

Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR

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