A dazzling performance

Christ Church Nutcracker features cast of 150


About 150 dancers took the stage Saturday, Dec. 9, at UNF’s Lazzara Performance Hall to present the Christ Church Dance Ministry’s 28th Annual Nutcracker. It was a wondrous evening that expanded upon Tchaikovsky’s traditional ballet to include a host of dance styles performed to Christmas favorites.

Dancers between the ages of 3 and 85 treated the audience to the ever-popular story of Clara, whose uncle gives her a Nutcracker as a gift. Later, Clara dreams her Nutcracker has come to life, and together they go on a magical journey, meeting a host of fanciful characters.

The dancers employed a number of styles in telling the story, including classical ballet, tap, hip-hop and acrobatics.

Marissa Jacobs danced the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Marissa has been studying with Felicia Rhoden, founder of Miss Felicia’s Dance ministry, for 15 years.

Other key dancers included: India Hodge (Clara), Isabela Victoria (Snow Queen), Anya Ragatz (Ballerina Doll), Eva Lantzy (Spinning Top), Olivia Baldwin (Rat Queen and the Russian Princess), Maya Jones (Arabian Princess), Lauren Lineberger (Chinese Princess) and Rachel McManus (Spanish Princess).

All of the dancers, whether featured soloists or part of a group, delivered top-notch performances — something that must have taken a great deal of dedication and rehearsal. In addition to the many seasoned performers, the show featured some of Miss Felicia’s youngest students, who easily charmed the audience.

As always, Rhoden and her instructors put together a show that, with such a large cast and so many variables, had to have been a tremendous challenge. And still, the result was nothing short of spectacular.

A great many people worked behind the scenes to make the performance a success. And perhaps the costume committee led by Carrie Lantzy deserves special recognition. The close attention to costuming gave the show a very high-end look.

It should be noted that the Christ Church Dance Ministry’s annual Nutcracker is much more than an entertaining way to celebrate the holidays. Proceeds help support some very good causes.

As in years past, the show supports Dreams Come True, Pediatric Hospice, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and an orphanage in Brazil.

And that should give everyone something to dance about.