‘The Nutcracker’

CALUMET – It’s become a time-honored tradition for the Superior School of Dance – “The Nutcracker.” It’s been performed for over two decades and this weekend will add another year to the tradition.

Superior School of Dance owner and director Nicole Polakowski said this year’s performance will feature the same classic music but a couple different styles of dance.

“It’s not just ballet,” Polakowski said. “It brings the same story to life a little bit better.”

Polakowski said the element that keeps her putting on “The Nutcracker” is the kids in the show.

“These kids are simply amazing,” Polakowski said. “They’ve worked since August everyday doing technique in the studio, every weekend rehearsing their pieces for the show up until this week. When you see all that hard work come together, lit up on The Calumet Theatre (stage) with the lights and the wonderful score by Tchaikovsky and the ballet, it’s overwhelming for me. It’s overwhelming for me every year we do it.”

People who may have seen the show before will benefit from coming again because not only will they see the traditional and classical version of “The Nutcracker,” but they will also get to see new students put their own take on the classic characters, as well as new set designs, costumes and choreography.

Polakowski said the kids also really enjoy putting on the show.

“They wouldn’t do it if they didn’t love it,” Polakowski said. “These kids are busy in school, they’re busy in so many other functions and yet they don’t miss practices. They’re very serious about it.”

Some of the young adults who are in the show are Marissa Labyak, who plays the Nutcracker and Lily Ashburn who plays Clara.

Labyak has been involved with dance for 11 years, while Ashburn has been involved for seven. Both of them have been involved with previous versions of the show.

Labyak said she enjoys the excitement of being involved with “The Nutcracker,” while Ashburn said she enjoys the performing aspect, as well as having lots of fun.

This is the first year for Labyak playing the titular role and said it’s something she’s been wanting to tackle.

“I didn’t really know if I was doing it or not until I saw the cast list and then once I saw it I was surprised,” Labyak said.

For the role of Clara, Ashburn said her character is a girl who is at a party on Christmas and is very happy and she gets a nutcracker.

In a previous year Labyak played a toy soldier, but this is the first time for Ashburn taking on a role of significance.

“The Nutcracker” will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday night at The Calumet Theatre. General seating tickets are $12 for adults, $7 for seniors and children and free for ages two and younger.