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NFMAA stages another sellout performance

By Staff | Dec 18, 2015

Again, it was a sellout, and again the students and faculty from the North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts brought down the house.

The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall once again hosted the school’s performance of the “Nutcracker” ballet, and every year the show becomes more elaborate, with brighter costumes, more dancers and a quality that always seems to exceed the previous year’s.

Before Friday’s show, the performers held a pair of dry runs at the school to work out the kinks and promote the show to the media.

Dr. Douglas Santini, principal at NFMAA who plays his traditional role of Uncle Drosselmeyer, said everything worked out well during the rehearsal.

“We’ve been doing bits and pieces along the way. But to put it all together is what we wanted,” Santini said. “There was a lot of energy in the dancing.”

Things didn’t go perfectly. During one dance, the music stopped numerous times, causing the performers to become distracted. But they got through it like pros and the show went on without further incident.

The show always changes from year to year. One of the biggest changes to the show was the Russian dancers, which had more than 30 boys participate, where in the past they only had a handful. It turned out to be the part of the show that got the most applause.

They also added a boy in a white suit to the show, and the Arabian dance was more complex than in the past, with more color.

All the students seemed to enjoy it. The younger ones seemed to like it more, Santini said.

“The kindergartners’ eyes got really big. They were really into it. Some of the elementary kids hadn’t seen it before and the middle schoolers were also into it,” Santini said.

As for ticket sales, Santini said all the $10 seats were sold out and that the school had sold their allotment of tickets. Santini said the remaining $20 and $30 seats were sold through the BB Mann box office.

“It looked like it would sell out. There were only a couple hundred seats left out of 1,800,” Santini said. “You’ll get a few walk ins. There are many parents who haven’t gotten seats yet. We sold more than $3,000 in tickets after the dress rehearsal on Saturday and close to $22,000 here at the school.”

More than 300 students are in the show, the most ever for NFMAA. During the school performances the entire side of seats stood empty.

On Friday, the young performers arrived at the Hall around noon, did their show and left around 10 p.m. It made for a long day, but it was worth it.

“The Barbara B. Mann makes it so we can make some money off it. They do some things for us, but we’re one of only two schools that use it,” Santini said. “To have a night where we can be on a stage like that is great for the kids.”