East Tennessee Youth Ballet & Academy performs holiday classic at Milligan

Published 8:56 am Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Photo by Brandon Hicks For more photos visit www.elizabethton.com

Sugar Plum Fairies, Snow Angels, Nutcrackers and many other festive characters went on exciting adventures during a special performance of “A Taste of Nutcracker” Monday.
The East Tennessee Youth Ballet & Academy closed out its 2014 Christmas Nutcracker performances Monday morning with a free performance for children at Milligan College’s Gregory Center.
The academy presented six performances of “A Taste of Nutcracker” this year in both Mountain City and at Milligan College.
On Monday morning, the Gregory Center was filled with children and their parents who came out to catch the last performance of this year’s Nutcracker ballet.
Erica Cole, of Johnson City, attended the performance with her three children. They are enrolled in the TEACH Homeschool program.
“We have seen parts of the Nutcracker before, but this is the first time we have seen all of it,” Cole said. “We enjoyed it very much.”
10-year-old Emra Cole especially enjoyed the part where Clara dances in the Land of Snow.
“It was so pretty when she danced with the snow fairies,” Emra said.
4-year-old homeschool student Cole, who said he wasn’t allowed to share his last name, declared the ballet “better than TV.”
“When the mouse king fights the Nutcracker is the best part,” Cole said. “It was so exciting.”
ETBA Director Cynthia Bernshausen declared this season’s performances a success.
“They did terrific,” Bernshausen said. “It has been a wonderful year. The children have been so enthusiastic and they have worked so hard.”
She said the performance has grown and changed over the years as the academy members have grown. Most of the dancers have been with the academy since it was formed six years ago, and all of the dancers have been trained with the ETBA.
“It is growing as the kids are growing,” Bernshausen said. “It really shows when it comes to the Nutcracker performances each year. Each year is different because it showcases the dancers and how they have grown.”
Now that the Christmas performances have wrapped up, Bernshausen said the members will keep working. She said her focus will be spreading awareness about the academy to more families in the region.
“I want to have more children exposed to the ballet,” Bernshausen said. “I want more families to see performances that wouldn’t be able to see it otherwise. The more that see can see what Elizabethton has to offer.”

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