Toy soldiers and dancing mice are just some of the exciting characters portrayed in Lincoln Countyâ€™s 4th annual Nutcracker performance, set to take place Friday and Saturday at the Citizens Center.
Nearly 100 dancers of all ages from local dance studios including Dancers Edge, Expressions Dance Studio and Start Struck, have come together for the special holiday production, which is sponsored by both the Lincoln Cultural Center and Times-News.
The performance is the Cultural Centerâ€™s largest fundraiser of the year with last yearâ€™s show bringing in around $10,000, according to Executive Director Cathy Davis. Funds are used for programming and facility improvements, she said.
Since June, dancers have been working tirelessly on show choreography at their separate dance studios. In September, several dancers, especially those who had solo parts, officially came together for a first practice, according to Dancers Edge owner Kimberly Noles.
Each year dancers switch around their roles, she said, and this year, the parts have cycled back around to reflect that of the productionâ€™s preliminary year.
Several of the dancers, whoâ€™ve been moving across the stage since the age of two, have been in the Nutcracker production all four years, some even playing multiple roles at one time.
For 18-year-old Sierra Taylor, who plays the Mouse King in addition to other roles in this yearâ€™s show, taking on more than one character is quite a challenge.
â€œYou have so much to remember,â€ she said. â€œI have toâ€¦run onstage in the middle of a scene.â€ Yet, Taylor recognizes how effective her dancing can be, even in a play without lines.
â€œAs a dancer, you can tell a story without a single word,â€ she noted.
Fellow dancer Megan Jenkins, 15, who was decked out in a sparkling red and gold toy soldier costume Thursday night at dress rehearsal, agreed with Taylor. â€œIt all tells a story with music,â€ she said.
Jenkins also pointed out the huge commitment level involved with putting together such a large-scale production.
â€œYou have to be committed,â€ she said. â€œParents have to be committed, too. Thereâ€™s a difference between a dance recital and a performance for the whole county.â€
Several dance teachers involved with directing the show note that the dancerâ€™s skill-level is just as spectacular as that of any other Nutcracker performance.
â€œWe have a lot of amazing, local talent,â€ Noles said.
Davis shared similar thoughts. â€œHere we get to see local talent and applaud their accomplishments,â€ she said.
The dancers are also excited each year to share a performance where they can dance beside one another in a non-competitive way.
â€œWe can all work together,â€ Taylor said.
Dancers and teachers alike encourage the community to attend the one-of-a-kind yearly holiday experience.
â€œItâ€™s a good cultural event,â€ Jenkins said. Taylor called the show â€œvery artistic.â€
â€œItâ€™s one of the most amazing ballets,â€ Noles said. â€œItâ€™s so magical.â€
Costumes for the show have been purchased and collected over the years while Charlotte Youth Ballot has donated the backdrop and a majority of the productionâ€™s props.
Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday at the James W. Warren Citizens Center in downtown Lincolnton. A special performance of the â€œMad Nutcrackerâ€ is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Tickets are $10 for seniors and $8 for students. For more information, contact the Lincoln Cultural Center at 704-732-9055.