By Ken Severson
For the 24th consecutive year, the Central Indiana Dance Ensemble will stage the holiday classic “The Nutcracker.”
Four public performances of “The Nutcraker” will be presented from Dec. 1-3 at the STAR Bank Performing Arts Center in Zionsville. It will be the 20th straight season at the venue.
“It is a really nice set up there,” Central Indiana Dance Ensemble Artistic Director Ashley Jacobs said. “It has plenty of space, dressing rooms and 1,200 seats.”
Jacobs, herself a dancer and dance teacher with several years of experience, has been with Central Indiana Dance Ensemble since 2009 and has been the artistic director since the fall of 2020.
“The Nutcracker,” a two-act classical ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, is set on Christmas Eve.
CIDE is partnering with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, and the Carmel Music Academy will also make an appearance.
Jacobs said the dancers range in age from 6 to 18 and, except for two veteran and professional dancers, Ryan Nemmers from Dallas and Thomas Fontana of Seattle, are amateurs.
Two of the key performers are Hamilton County high school students.
Claire Barbour, a junior at Carmel High School, is playing the Snow Queen and Demi Soloist Flowers while Charlotte Van Dyke, a senior at Guerin Catholic, portrays the Sugar Plum Fairy.
“I’ve been dancing since age 2, and I have been performing in ‘The Nutcracker ‘since I joined Central Indiana Dance Ensemble in 2015 to perform as a little toy soldier,” said Van Dyke, who has since progressed from toy soldier. “‘The Nutcracker’ has easily become my favorite part of the holiday season, and I am so excited to be performing this year as the Sugar Plum Fairy, a role that I have been dreaming of since I was 8. I am so grateful for this wonderful opportunity. It is such a dream come true and an honor to perform in my ninth ‘Nutcracker.”
Barbour started dancing at the age of 2 and joined CIDE two years later. Throughout her 12 years of experience, she has had the privilege of performing as a party girl at a younger age and a dancing doll more recently in “The Nutcracker.”
“This year, after being cast in the snow scene for two years previously, I am thrilled to be the Snow Queen and be partnering for the first time on stage,” Barbour said. “I am honored to have this amazing opportunity this holiday season.”
Jacobs looks forward to presenting the show.
“The audience can expect an exciting, beautiful performance of the traditional beloved classic to kick off their holiday season,” she said.
Tickets are available at cidedance.org.