NORTH EAST — With Christmas less than a month away, the Cecil Dance Theatre is welcoming audiences to officially get into the holiday spirit with their performance of “The Nutcracker.”

Shows will run 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Cecil College’s Milburn Stone Theatre. Tickets are available at www.milburnstone.com.

The production will feature about 70 cast members and will follow a traditional “The Nutcracker” storyline with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, according to Tina Travers, Cecil Dancenter studio owner.

Travers said the cast members have been diligently rehearsing with choreographer Anya Ivanova-Bojko every Sunday since September, with some days as long as six hours. Those rehearsals are in addition to the dancers’ regular classes during the week.

According to Travers, this production will mark Ivanova-Bojko’s 20th show that she has choreographed for the studio.

In addition to lights designed by Milburn Stone Theatre staff, Travers said the show will also feature new costumes, which she is excited about.

“That’s going to elevate the quality of the performance,” she said.

Ivanova-Bojko’s choreography for this show primarily features traditional ballet, although Travers said some parts of the show feature more theatrical pieces such as an Arabian dance.

Also incorporated into the show will be magic tricks performed by the Herr Drosselmeyer character, who presents Clara with the Nutcracker.

Before the performances, Travers said young audience members will be invited on stage to do a bit of dancing.

“Any children in the audience can come on the stage 15 minutes before the show starts and be a part of our pre-show and dance on the stage with some of our performers,” she said.

Travers said some Cecil County Public Schools students will be attending special performances in the week before the official shows. Then, the dancers will be performing at two elementary schools the week after the shows, and two nursing homes and a children’s hospital after Christmas.

But for members of the general public, Travers said Dec. 14 and 15 will be a great chance to see what the members of Cecil Dance Theatre have to offer.

“The show will definitely get them in the holiday spirit,” she said. “I think just seeing the quality of the dancing and the choreography and everything as a whole will warm people’s hearts to see all the talent and hard work that we have in our community.”

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