AYBT brings back The Nutcracker to awaken Christmas spirit

By Yousra Hussain
Staff Writer

The chilly winter mingled with the fog, calling for a lazy day underneath blankets. Still, the buzz and bustle of the Sewanee community outside Guerry Auditorium could be heard miles away, with the indefatigable Christmas spirit pulling everyone towards the showing of The Nutcracker by the Alabama Youth Ballet Theater.

Much like a cup of hot cocoa, The Nutcracker kept its audience warm through the joyous story, portrayed gracefully by its dancers.

“Nutcracker is important to me because it really makes it feel like Christmas.  As much as decorating for Christmas or any other holiday tradition, participating in The Nutcracker has become a Christmas tradition for me,” said Alicia Wright, one of the dancers from the Alabama Youth Ballet Theater.

Photos by Lucy Wimmer (C’20).

Besides dancers from the Alabama Youth Ballet Theater, the ballet had familiar faces from the Sewanee community such as Sarah Marhevsky, the interim international advisor, and her daughter. Both were performers, which made the ballet even more captivating and warmed the hearts of the audience.

Guerry Auditorium was packed with families, students, and faculty and staff members, perhaps to fulfill Christmas traditions as Wright does or to appreciate the beauty of the Ballet for the first time.

For Scarlett Pham (C’22), an international student from Vietnam, it was the latter.

Photos by Lucy Wimmer (C’20).

“As an international student going to see The Nutcracker for the first time, it was a chance for me to immerse myself into American culture, and [I] thought it was a great way to bring the community together in this very special Christmas month,” Pham said.

The story of The Nutcracker is a timeless classic. From a Christmas party to journeying towards the Sugar Plum Fairy’s court, with invigorating dances from the Russian dolls and the Snow Queen, it is an invigorating story with little to no room for boredom. Out of all the glorious characters in the ballet, for Wright, dancing as the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy is her favorite.

“Dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy is just magical. It has beautiful music and a sparkly pink tutu and is the part every little girl dreams to be when she watches The Nutcracker,” Wright added.

That is exactly what The Nutcracker brought to the Sewanee community: magic. The magic of bringing warmth on a cold, winter day and the magic of awakening the Christmas spirit amongst the community.

Whether going to see The Nutcracker was just a part of an age-old Christmas tradition or to experience the ballet for the first time, each member took a piece of that magic home with them as they left the captivating land of The Nutcracker and ventured out to the cold breeze of reality.