“The true beauty of ballet is when you’re watching a dancer, and you’re able to forget everything that’s going on in your life. You’re just right there, present,” describes Kathy Chamberlain, founder of Chamberlain School of Ballet and Chamberlain Performing Arts. She invites everyone to the Charles W. Eisemann Center to experience the essence of beauty through “The Nutcracker” ballet, which will take place over the weekend of Nov. 24-26.
Chamberlain Performing Arts first performed “The Nutcracker” at the John Anthony Theatre in 1989, and the beloved holiday tradition has lived on ever since – a happy memory for all involved, Kathy says. We may know the dance by heart – the music, the movement, the moment – and still, find ourselves pleasantly surprised. The magic is in the choreography and highly acclaimed choreographer Lisa Hess Jones’ ability to move dancers through space, Kathy says. But, it’s also in the dancers’ powerful, persuasive form of self-expression.
Featured dancers Tyler Angle and Tiler Peck from New York City Ballet will perform in “The Nutcracker,” exhibiting true beauty, as Kathy defines it. Before the performance, the guest dancers will often do a warm up with her advanced students, allowing the students the opportunity to visualize what they can become, in the same way,Kathy once did.
At age four, Kathy watched two distinguished ballet dancers perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show” – Edward Villella and Patricia McBride. “They looked so happy doing what they were doing, and I thought, ‘I want to do that. I want to be like that,’” Kathy reminisces. “You have to see it before you can know it’s something you want,” she says, reflecting back.
During auditions for “The Nutcracker,” Kathy encouraged her students to go beyond the steps, to express the key emotion of dancing: joy. “Dancing with your feet is one thing, dancing with your heart is another,” she tells them often. “Teaching children for so many years, you see the children who were born to do this. Some of them will have a joyfulness. They may not be the best, but it’s that heart and spirit that makes them endure the hard work and pain.”
This year marks Chamberlain’s 40th anniversary since Kathy passionately and steadfastly opened up the school at age 20. Kathy started ballet at age five, and by age 12 was on track to become a professional dancer. Her hope is that dance – and Chamberlain’s next performance of “The Nutcracker” – will impact everyone in some way.
“The Nutcracker” Performance Times:
November 24 at 7 p.m.
November 25 at 2 p.m.
November 26 at 2 p.m.