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Land of Sweets gives ballet fans a tasty treat in 'Nutcracker' production

By Camille Doty
Dec. 3, 2011 at 6:03 a.m.

Julie Janecka, 25, dances as the Snow Queen in the Victoria Ballet Theatre's production of "The Nutcracker."

if you go: The Nutcracker

When: 8 p.m.Thursday to Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Leo J. Welder Center 214 N. Main St, Victoria

Cost: . $25 pre-sale, $30 at the door, $20 opening night special Thursday evening

For more info: Call 361-570-8587 or visit www.victoriaballet.org.

Ainsley Tharp wants to keep the arts alive, and she has a passion for engaging young people.

"It is our responsibility to be a role model and inspire people to dance," she said.

On Saturday afternoon, the 17-year-old St. Joseph's High School junior got her chance.

She and other members of the Victoria Ballet Theatre danced into the hearts of girls at the Land of the Sweets performance.

About 80 people got into the Christmas spirit at the Victoria Country Club by making picture frames, decorating sugar cookies, and interacting with the dancers of the upcoming production of "The Nutcracker."

"It's a fun way for kids to enjoy the play in a personal way," said Brenda Tally, the theatre's artistic director.

Jamie Bohac brought her 5-year-old daughter to the event to bond. "It's our girl time," she said.

She and Sydney Bohac are the only females in the family of six.

As Sydney placed her candy canes and Christmas trees on her picture frame, Meagan Roy, told her, "You did such a good job." Sydney smiled in her green coordinated holiday outfit.

Meagan will play a palace guard in the beloved ballet.

Dancer Brandyn Burris said, "The Nutcracker is Christmas."

He said he is much nicer than the Rat King character he portrays. He started dancing a few months ago. The Nutcracker will be his first performance.

"I'm probably one of the oldest dancers here and I look up to these guys," said the 21-year-old Victoria Beauty College student.

Brandyn said he got a start in dance late in life. He said he practices four hours a day and is grateful for the support he has received from the dance community in Victoria.

Ainsley began dancing when she was 4 years old. "I love performing," she said. "I get a chance to express myself on stage."

To foster that excitement in others, Ainsley, who plays the guardian angel, teaches at Busby Dancenter.

The only daughter of Bruce and Shelly Tharp, Ainsley said she was delighted to perform on Saturday and prepare for the production.

"This helps keeps us going," Ainsley said.

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