nat pop of music…
You don't have to be a ballet lover to recognize the songs.
The Nutcracker is a a holiday tradition shared
by people all over the world - and
since 1989 it's been a tradition right here at home.
:24 "I was in the first 4 casts."
Nikki Balsamo is the current director of the
La Crosse Dance Centre show, and even after
24 years still finds magic in the story.
Nikki 2 :9 "Every year I fall
in love with it a little more.
45 "There's a girl named Maria.
And she receives a nutcracker doll from her godfather."
He's a toy maker
:55 "So he makes this doll for her an
weaves into the doll a magical dream for her."
The nutcracker comes to life.
As well as evil rats and mice
"The nutcracker comes to saves the day.
But actually she ends up conqueruing the rat queen
and freeing the nutcracker from a doll to human form."
nat pop of Katherine
Stepping into the lead role of Maria for the
second straight year is Central High School senior Katherine Burelbach.
"I remember the first time I wanted to be Maria.
I was in the battle scene as a battle soldier.
I saw the Maria and she needs to catch a
swrod and she couldn't catch it and I was like
'I can catch that sword!' And I was determined."
Katherine is one of only 4
girls to repeat the starring role.
Nikki "So that's a really unique and
fun thing that she's doing the role twice.
But there is also a first happening this season.
Aquinas senior John Divney is the first ever high
school student to tackle the challenging role of the nutcracker.
Nikki We've always either brought in
a professional or had a college student."
"It was a far fetched dream for me.
It was one of those things I knew
I would have to work really hard for.
It was about 2 years ago that I knew it could
be a reality and I worked even harder and here I am."
There are 90 cast members from the
community ranging in age from 4 to adults.
And there's truly something in the story for everyone.
"My favorite part still to this day is the battle scene.
Just cause I loved the sodiers and the danger
when you think the rats are going to win
and this figure comes out and saves the day."
Katherine "It's very special.
It's like a tradition and it just
brings the Christmas spirit to La Crosse."
That's the essence of the nutcracker
ballet is joy and dreams and celebrating.
THat's a wonderful thing to have in
a community the size of La Crosse.
That's just a wonderful tradition to have."
In La Crosse with photographer Kirk
Arneson, Jennifer Livingston - News 8.