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Academy for the Arts students to perform ‘The Nutcracker’

By Staff | Nov 27, 2010

Students from the North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts will perform Tchaikovsky’s two-act ballet, “The Nutcracker,” at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall on Thursday, Dec. 16.
A holiday favorite for many, this is the first time students will perform in that large a venue. It seats more that 1,800 — 1,864 to be exact — and more than 1,000 tickets have already been purchased, according to Principal Dr. Douglas Santini.
“We’re very excited about this opportunity and the night, especially because it is at the Barbara B. Mann,” he said. “The students are very excited and are working hard on the production.
“I’m proud and awed at what these students can do. Everyone should see the performance; it is fantastic.”
“They’ve never done anything quite like this,” said teacher Debbie Trout, who oversees chorus and keyboard students at the school. “It will be something they will remember forever.”
At the ballet, there will not only be dancers, but music students from the school performing in the lobby, including keyboard and violin.
“The Nutcracker” is a multi-faceted arts educational experience for students of all ages and arts disciplines at North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts. As an ARTS Achieve! model school, at the Academy, academics and arts are combined.
Now in its fifth year, students from across the entire school will take part in the school’s production of the ballet.
“We have 180 dancers and 60 other performers,” said North Fort Myers Middle School dance teacher Linda Sammons. She and elementary school dance teacher Lori Madl are working on rehearsals right now, along with teachers Trout, Chris Moffat from the band and jazz band and Mitsue Schmidt with the violinists.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the kids,” said Sammons. “I think many from the community saw the Rockettes perform at Barbara B. Mann and have purchased tickets for our show from that.”
She said the event has always sold out for two nights at the school, but many more wanted to see it. A third performance, she said, could possibly interfere with academics, so she worked with the venue to get a much larger, professional venue to accommodate all those who wished to see the performance.
“So many work on the event, including business teacher Sue Sommer who had her class design rack cards, posters and brochures. She actually started planning over the summer.”
This experience gave graphic arts students real world experience in the design area as well.
“The kids made a variety of different advertisements and documents, and then we had to send them off to commercial printers.”
Featured performers include Nick Lamoureux as The Nutcracker, Sarah Rose Thornton as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Alyssa Dempsey as Clara.
Tickets are $7, $12 and $20, and the performance is reserved seating only. For information or to reserve a seat call 481-4849.
The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall is at 8099 College Parkway, Fort Myers.