Gulf Coast School of Performing Arts prepares for annual Nutcracker Ballet

DIBERVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) – One dance studio is looking forward to a big return with an annual show that they put on each year. However, this famous Christmas holiday story couldn’t be reenacted last year due to the pandemic.

The Gulf Coast School and Performing Arts studio director Elaine Kulick believes this year the show must go on and the preparation starts now.

Before most recitals or plays, auditions come first. Children as young as 4-years-old practice their best moves to gain a spot in the Gulf Coast School of Performing Arts Nutcracker.

”It starts with a party scene and Uncle Drosselmeyer is there and the kids don’t recognize him because he has a masks on,” said Kulick. “Then Clara gets in a fight with the brother. It’s just really a tradition that’s been around forever.”

A tradition Kulick said she has been a part of her studio for 15 years. COVID-19 canceled last year’s show and even forced some dancers to learn virtually.

“It was a little frustrating,” said one dance mom,” said Kynesha. “They would record the rehearsals, then we as the parents would have to make sure our child took the time to dance. But with COVID and being lazy we would forget about it sometimes,” she said.

The devastation motivated Kulick to make this year’s show more memorable, inviting a ballet instructor with the Moscow Ballet in Russia to lead auditions.

“I think it’s good to start them out as young as possible to let them kind of choose as they grow what their interest are going to be,” said Dana Chapman, a first year dance mom.

Parents say this and other activities help kids build confidence and social skills. Rebecca Morrow said it also helps escape the COVID worry.

“We’re just trying to keep things as normal as possible and not put the stresses of the real world on them since they’re only five,” said Morrow.

Susan Strahan is also a parent, but a dance coach as well and said her girls put a lot of hard work and dedication into their routines and recitals, and it all shows once she sees them on stage.

“As a coach it was super hard to hold things together,” said Strahan. “Last year we are just really looking forward to a new year this year. We have a great group of girls,’ Strahan said. “All these dance studios are like a family and we all stood strong last year in 2020 and I think it’s going to be great. All we can do is hope for the best and move forward,” she said.

Gulf Coast School and Performing Arts studio director said the Nutcracker is set to take stage December 4 and 5 at the Beau Rivage. Kulick said tickets can be purchased through the Beau Rivage ticket box office.

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