Communication & The Arts
November 30, 2018

The West Potomac Academy and Alexandria Community Nutcracker Partnership Celebrates 10 Years of Dance, Holiday Tradition

Four Performances of The Nutcracker Running November 29 - December 1

NEW for 2018: Incorporation of Professional Choreography & Live Orchestra Music


Celebrating its 10th year, the Partnership collaboration between West Potomac Academy Dance Program and Alexandria Community Nutcracker will once again delight and excite guests of all ages with the holiday classic “The Nutcracker.” This season’s four public performances will take place at 5:30 pm  Thursday November 29 , 6:30 pm Friday November 30, and 2:30 and 6:30 pm  Saturday December 1,  at West Potomac High School, 6500 Quander Road, Alexandria.

The Alexandria Community Nutcracker began in 2008, in partnership with the West Potomac Academy’s Dance Program. The partnership goal was to bring youth dancers of all ages and skill levels in the local Alexandria community together to perform Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece. West Potomac Academy Dance students would take on stage production roles and be featured in select choreography, while community dancers of all ages could audition as leading and supporting cast members.  Over the last decade, the production has evolved in size and scope.

Led by a team of directors - Gennifer Difilippo, (Alexandria Community Dance), Courtney Betzel, (West Potomac Academy), and Adrienne Taylor, (Above the Barre) - this Nutcracker adaptation is unique -- the music in Act Two has been reproduced to incorporate traditional Ballet dances, as well as Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Irish Dancing, Tap and Gymnastics.

In honor of this year’s 10th anniversary performance, professional New York City choreographer Ebone Simone Johnson is lending her talents for the Hip Hop Russian Number. In addition, the West Potomac Orchestra will perform the live music during the Waltz of the Flowers and there will be a live guitar accompaniment during the Reed Flutes number.

“When we started this project ten years ago, we had a vision to provide local dancers an opportunity to audition and then perform on stage,” said Difilippo. “We recognized there was a need for a community production that would welcome all styles of dance and skill levels for this classic holiday ballet.”

“Looking back at the last ten years, it’s become so much more than a dance production. It’s part of the fabric of our community, with families, friends, colleagues, school and scouting groups making it an annual tradition to support their children, siblings, neighbors, peers, classmates and students performing on stage, while also getting into the spirit of the season,” said Betzel.

The cast ranges from three-year old to adult performers dancing Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Tap, Jazz, Modern, and Gymnastics.  Auditions are held annually each June, and are open to preschool, elementary, junior high and high school dancers who are enrolled in an approved dance or gymnastics program in the local area.

 “Being in the Nutcracker for all ten years has been special”said  Kylie and Payton Rapp. “We have enjoyed watching it evolve and watching everyone grow as dancers and people.”

“The success of this annual show would not be possible without the support of so many in the Alexandria community, including West Potomac High School, local businesses, the parents of the dancers who volunteer to help make this production happen each year. We look forward to the next decade of this continued annual holiday tradition.”

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Previews of the production will be available to credentialed members of the media during dress rehearsals. The public performances welcome media as well.  

Interviews are available upon request with the directors of the production, as well as dancers who have performed in all ten Alexandria Community Nutcracker productions. Please contact Maria Kappel, @email, 703-718-2753 or Courtney Betzel, @email, 703-718-2641 for more information.