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Seeing the 'Nutcracker' through the eyes of a child

APRILL BRANDON

By APRILL BRANDON
Dec. 9, 2010 at 6:09 a.m.

Nathan Umphries and Steven Brown enjoy a moment in the performance of The Nutcracker.

Nathan Umphries and Steven Brown enjoy a moment in the performance of The Nutcracker.

If you would have asked third-grader Kylee Tullos earlier this week if she thought ballet could include fighting and battle scenes, she would have told you emphatically, "No." One performance of Victoria Ballet Theatre's "The Nutcracker" later, and she was in awe.

"It was cool. I loved the part where the Nutcracker and the rat started fighting," the Hallettsville Elementary student said. "There was a lot of fighting, and it was funny to see it in a ballet."

Kylee was just one of hundreds of students Thursday who got to see the holiday staple at the Leo J. Welder Center. The cast puts on a total of four performances for area students on Thursday and Friday, and this year, about 20 schools signed up to attend, artistic director Brenda Serrata Tally said.

"My favorite performances are the school shows," Tally added. "It's so exciting for them and they start 'oohing' and 'ahhing' when they just walk into the theater."

Although many of the students were enamored throughout the entire performance, the battle scene in the first act seemed to be a favorite for most.

"It was great. All that dancing and ballet was kind of cool. But my favorite part was when the battle began," Hallettsville Elementary third-grader Ryan Targac said. "It was the biggest part I ever thought of."

His classmate, Bret Etzler, agreed.

"I liked the battle scene because when the Nutcracker soldiers shot the mice, it was funny," he said.

The kids weren't the only ones who enjoyed the performance. For Kelsey Norgard, who plays Clara in the ballet, there is something magical about dancing for young children who haven't seen "The Nutcracker" before.

"There's definitely a difference between performing for the kids and the general public. The kids are so energetic, and they react more," she said. "It's more fun performing for the kids because they seem to enjoy it more. I know adults enjoy it too, but the kids interact and yell out and laugh throughout the whole thing."

Public performances of "The Nutcracker" will continue through Sunday. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets are $25 presale and $30 at the door. To order tickets, call 361-570-8587.


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