The Portsmouth Youth Ballet and Shawnee State University Performing Arts Academy has invited the Ashland Youth Ballet to participate in the Annual Portsmouth Nutcracker.
This event is based on the original production of Tchaikovsky and Petipa’s Nutcracker and is in its second year with the companies, featuring the talents of over 100 performers from Kentucky and Ohio, ages 3 to 18.
“Our story takes place as a memory of long ago. The year is 1900, in Portsmouth, Ohio, and we see excited shoppers preparing for a joyous Christmas season. Uncle Drosselmeyer is making his way to his family’s Christmas Eve party to surprise those nearest and dearest to his heart. He has brought gifts and tales from abroad to share with his niece and nephew Clara and Fritz, and two very special Nutcracker dolls. The party is in full swing with laughter, dancing and a few special surprises. As the party comes to an end and the house is dark, Clara sneaks back to the living room to find her Nutcracker doll,” Professor Summer Logan explained about the plot. “As the clock strikes midnight, magic swirls around the house the tiny squeaks can be heard from under the Christmas tree. Little mice run to and fro startling Clara awake. The little mice dance around the living room and the Rat King and Nutcracker do battle. As the Rat King is defeated the Guardian Angel and the Nutcracker Prince whisk Clara away to the Land of the Sweets. Clara and her Nutcracker Prince enjoy dances and treats from around the world.”
Logan says that she began taking her dance training seriously when she was in middle school and then found a passion for choreography and movement in college. A favorite mentor coached her in many ways, including the importance of inspiring the community you live in and how to make a living through dance. Since then, she has been changing lives of people through her work on the local scene.
Logan is a certified instructor of the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum Pre-Primary – Level 5. This is the ballet curriculum that all Logan’s ballet students train in at the PAA. The SSU PAA is a certified Acrobatic Arts Studio, which is a nationally recognized Acrobatic syllabus. They’re also members of the National Dance Education Organization and have a chapter of the National Honors Society for Dance Arts and we’re members of Ohio Dance Master’s Chapter 16.
“The amount of work these dancers have put in has been absolutely amazing. They all take multiple classes throughout the week and practice on their own,” Logan explained. “I, as their teacher, can see their progress each week, but the wonderful moments are when the students can recognize their own growth and accomplishments. Those are the special chill bump moments.”
Dance is more than a fun and creative outlet to Logan. It is a major piece of her identity, and she believes that those who participate have many benefits to take away from her teachings.
“Dance and movement are so important for physical, cognitive and emotional growth,” Logan said. “There are many studies on the effects of dance and music on child’s development. It also gives these kids a chance to escape and have some fun.”
Logan said that she believes the Nutcracker will entertain audiences this season.
“The show overall is a classic and really means that it’s really the Holiday season. Our students are so excited to bring this Christmas tradition to life, it’s really making the whole process feel magical,” Logan claimed. “This will be our fifth show and the support from the community has been overwhelming and so positive. I think that the community is excited for this type of show, which has quickly become a Christmas tradition. I really feel that there is a need for a technique focused, high quality, well-rounded dance program here in Portsmouth. Shawnee State University has been a fantastic supporter of this program because they see the value of the arts in the community.”
Public performances will take place December 16 and 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. General admission is $10.
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved