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When Darien Arts Center (darienarts.org) Dance Director Bonnie Gombos produced Scenes from the Nutcracker for the first time in 2002, little did she know that the small production geared for younger children would grow into a beloved tradition that the DAC would keep alive for 15 years. In fact, the show proved to become a local holiday favorite and grew exponentially over the years, consistently selling out performances.

The 2002 production had a modest beginning, with just 2 performances and approximately 10 adult dancers. Each year, Gombos has added dancers as the DAC dance school grew and the show gained popularity. This year, Scenes from the Nutcracker boasts eight performances with 70 dancers from the DAC dance program. Gombos coordinates and choreographs 40 children in each performance, who comprise three different casts of angels and two different cast of ‘pollichenelles’, in addition to dancers from the junior, senior and adult dance companies.

The DAC’s version of the Tchaikovsky ballet is adapted into an hour-long narrated show to accommodate the attention span of the younger set. Children get to sit up close and are invited to meet and greet characters after each performance. Exposing children to a timeless classic and different kinds of dance, while celebrating the season, has been key to its success. The cast, local dancers of all ages, adds to its appeal. This year’s production features new dances, characters and colorful costumes, guaranteed to delight audiences.


Over 700 students benefit from the DAC dance program, one of the largest in Connecticut. It offers a wide variety of classes for all ages and levels in what is considered to be one of the best dance spaces in Fairfield County. Its curriculum, designed to focus on the joy of dance, includes an introductory program for ages 3 to five that explores rhythm, music, creative expression and basic coordination. Students progress to focus on technique in addition to creative exploration.

Performances of Scenes from the Nutcracker will be held at the DAC Weatherstone Studio at 2 Renshaw Road, behind Town Hall. Show times are December 10, 11 and 17 at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., December 16 at 6 p.m. and December 18 at noon. Tickets are $10. Reservations are highly recommended, as performances sell out quickly for this popular annual tradition. Call the DAC at (203) 655-8683 or email Bonnie@darienarts.org for reservations.

Pictured at a rehearsal for this year’s production of Scenes from the Nutcracker, are (from left to right) in front row: Katie Galligan, Bridget Parr, Lucky Nelson, Lauren Savino and Anastassia Grytsenko, in back row: Claire Chan, Chynna Kelly, Sabrina Byrnes, Mackenzie Maier, Remi Repsher, Zuzu Wood, Logan Samuel and Eloise Mallie. Photo credit: Heather Kahlert.

Source : https://patch.com/connecticut/darien/dac-s-scenes-nutcracker-celebrates-15-years

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