Christmas en pointe

Texarkana dancers are eager to perform in ‘The Nutcracker’

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Photo by Braylen Garren

The Texarkana Community Ballet put on their annual performance of “The Nutcracker” this Christmas season. Dancers from all-around Texarkana have been working for weeks to put on this beloved holiday show.

Story by Sophie Keller, Webmaster

Nostalgic music echoes through the theater as dozens of young dancers twirl the night away, all eager for their moment to shine, their moment beneath the falling snow.

The first weekend of December is reserved for mouse kings, snow queens and, of course, sugarplums. The Texarkana Community Ballet will be holding its annual performance of the Nutcracker on Dec. 2, 3 and 4.

“Nutcracker is a way for people who share similar interests like dance, which is a dying art, to come together and express the art that we all love so much,” senior Reese Langdon said. “Also, it gives us a chance to give back to the community because the Nutcracker is a tradition for many families to go and watch.”

The nutcracker is a core memory for so many, dancers and spectators alike. It’s a time for dreams to be realized and magic to come alive.

“I started dancing because when I was two, I went to the Nutcracker with my mom,” sophomore Laila Toubia said. “Apparently, I saw the [dancers] and was like mama, I want to do that. So, she put me into dance, and then when I was old enough to be in nutcracker, I still wanted to do that. So I keep trying out every year.”

As a testament to the Christmas spirit, the Nutcracker season is a time for all of the different dance studios to come together and make something for the community.

“It’s a really good time to meet other girls from different studios and get to dance with them,” sophomore Julianna Horton said. “And you get a different teacher, and I have a lot of fun because you get to be a character, and I just think it’s really sweet. And I know a lot of people enjoy watching.”

Unlike the yearly recitals that Texarkana dancers are so accustomed to, the Nutcracker is as much theater as it is ballet.

Photo by Braylen Garren

“Having the role I have, I realized I get to act in it because Nutcracker is a very theatrical ballet,” Toubia said. “So I’m happy I get to act in it, and it’s a soloist position, so I can do my best tricks.”

This year, Texas High is home to some of the amazing soloists and demi-soloists that will be twirling the night away: Langdon as the Snow Queen, Toubia as Mother Ginger and Horton as a flower demi, to name a few.

“Performing is the best feeling ever,” Langdon said. “I’m always extremely nervous before I walk on the stage, but as soon as I go on stage, all of those worries really go away. And I just know that I only get to perform as Snow Queen four times, and I know that I’m going to make the most out of that by just performing to the best of my abilities.”

For some, dance is their calling, and with dozens of different roles available, the Nutcracker is the perfect way to showcase their talents and see how they grow each year.

“I’m getting to do something I love, something I know,” Toubia said. “I’m able to show off what I’ve been working really hard on, and you don’t really feel it in the moment, but you feel the adrenaline rush after you take your bows and go off stage.”

Performing is the best feeling ever. I’m always extremely nervous before I walk on the stage, but as soon as I go on stage, all of those worries really go away.”

— Reese Langdon

For some, the Nutcracker is the highlight of their Christmas season. It’s a chance for them to do what they love beyond the yearly recitals.

“I auditioned for the Nutcracker because the Nutcracker and performing, in general, is the most fun part about dancing to me,” Langdon said. “So if I get more than one opportunity to dance in front of my friends and family other than just the dance recital in May, then, of course, I would want to take that.”

Some people just know that dance is what they’re meant to do, and they let the music guide them. In the Nutcracker, little girls get to live their fairytale dreams beneath the falling snow and bright lights, and the older girls finally get their moment to leap onto stage as a queen.

“Immediately, I knew that this is what my calling was,” Langdon said. “I love performing. I love being on stage. And I think that dance is just such a beautiful way to showcase art and exert energy.”

Performances will be held Dec. 2 at 7 p.m., Dec. 3 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at the Perot Theatre box office, in person, by phone or online at perottheatre.org. Ticket prices depending on the attendees are $15, $13 or $11. All are welcome to come watch this magical and timeless story unfold.