Tipp City residents taking in this year’s performances of The Nutcracker at the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton may see some familiar young faces appearing on stage.
Five Tipp City youth are among the more than 100 children from across the Miami Valley selected to appear in this year’s productions.
Megan Forney, or “Miss Megan,” and Gabrielle Sharp, or “Miss Gabby,” of the Dayton Ballet work with the children as they prepare and rehearse for their roles from Clara and Fritz to rats, soldiers, party kids, lambs, mother gingers and attendants.
“The most challenging part is getting performances ready in a short amount of time. We start the first weekend of November with the rehearsal process,” Fortney said. “The most enjoyable part is seeing the kids be successful and have fun on such a big beautiful stage.”
The Tipp City youth in this year’s productions include:
• Hannah Coty, 13, a seventh grader at Stivers School for the Arts performing as a gingerbread cookie. She started dance at age five and has taken classes at Dayton Ballet since fourth grade. She is a member of the Dayton Ballet II Junior Company.
• AJ Gross, 12, a seventh grader at Stivers School for the Arts performing as Fritz. He takes classes at the Dayton Ballet School and is a member of the Dayton Ballet II Junior Company.
• Matthew Coty, 10, at student at L.T. Ball Intermediate performing as a soldier. His first appearance in The Nutcracker was at age five. He takes classes at the Dayton Ballet.
• Kayla Williams, 11, a student at Tipp City Middle School performing as a parlor maid. She studies ballet at the Dayton Ballet School
• Molly Dunn, 10, a student at L.T. Ball Intermediate performing as a soldier. She has studied ballet at the Dayton Ballet School of dance for six years.
Hannah Coty and AJ Gross have performed in The Nutcracker before.
“It is just a really fun experience,” said Hannah, who is in her fifth year in a Nutcracker production. Her favorite role was as the black sheep in 2012.
Hannah said she does ballet for fun, but also is a serious dancer. To be in The Nutcracker requires someone who is a hard worker, she said. “You have to be committed to it,” Hannah said.
AJ said this is his second year in the role of Fritz, which he enjoys. “You get to be childish. You get to cause trouble,” he said with a large grin.
He said he enjoys dancing and how it allows one self expression. The Nutcracker production is special with the inclusion of Dayton Ballet performers and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, he said, adding, “I like how you get to have a more professional feeling.”
For more information on The Nutcracker visit www.daytonperformingarts.org.