Friday, April 24, 2015

Leads become leaders, making ‘Nutcracker’ timeless

The Nutcracker Prince (Cooper Hosley) and the Mouse King (James Hayakawa) engage in swordplay during rehearsal for the "Davis Children's Nutcracker," which opens Wednesday and continues through Sunday at the Veterans' Memorial Theater. Tickets sold out long ago, but check the message board in the Vets' Center lobby for any last-minute availability. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

From page A1 | December 13, 2011 |

Ask a participant in the “Davis Children’s Nutcracker” what his or her favorite part of the experience is, and odds are pretty good the answer will be, “my leaders.”

Because as fun as performing in the annual rite of passage is for Davis children, from the music to the dancing to the costumes, it’s often the interaction with the teenagers who teach them everything that leaves the deepest impact of all.

For years afterward, in fact, children will spot their leaders around town, working at Nugget, teaching a swim lesson, passing them on a sidewalk downtown, and respond with a shriek of joy: “That’s my ‘Nutcracker’ leader!”

It’s no wonder, then, that many of these children grow up to be leaders themselves, sharing their love for the “Nutcracker” year after year with the kids who follow in their footsteps. And they do so with a sense of obligation.

“My leaders always made it so fun,” says Davis High senior Emma Hunter, “so I always want to do the same.”

Hunter has been a leader for five years now, following six years spent in the cast itself. Cast members — who number 250 — are all between the ages of six and 12, and after that become eligible to be leaders.

This year, Hunter and junior Katya Christian are working with the two dance leads in the “Nutcracker,” both choreographing and teaching the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Forest Fairy their respective dances.

For Hunter, who was herself the Sugar Plum Fairy back in 2005, there is a seamlessness about the process of rehearsing onstage with this year’s version — Leila Roberts — and working through the dance movements.

And because both Hunter and Christian have been taking dance lessons since they were little, “we can actually put our knowledge of dance to use,” Christian said.

“It’s a great creative outlet,” Hunter added.

They and their fellow leaders also bring an immense knowledge of “Nutcracker” lore to the job.

“Everyone has all the lines memorized,” Christian noted.

So when the Mouse King — James Hayakawa — was rehearsing his role onstage one afternoon last week, any of the leaders could step in at any time to rehearse with him, playing a mouse, a soldier or anything else, and always knowing exactly what to say and what to do.

Leaders Lindsay Brandt, Hannah Jolkovsky and John Greer have the task of preparing a dozen children for their lead roles in this year’s “Nutcracker.” They’re working with everyone from Clara and the Prince, to the Mouse King, Gnome Queen and assorted family members.

Since right after Thanksgiving break they’ve been at the Veterans’ Memorial Center nearly every day preparing their charges for their roles, helping Clara learn her lines, and coaching the Mouse King and the Prince through their swordplay.

This year’s main leads are:

Clara: Lilja Jelks

Nutcracker Prince: Cooper Hosley

Mouse King: James Hayakawa

Forest Fairy: Abby Sutcliffe

Sugar Plum Fairy: Leila Roberts

The complexity of teaching a ballet dance has been particularly time-consuming for the dance leaders.

“We’re here the most of any of the leaders,” Christian noted.

But they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I love everything about it,” Hunter said.

This is the 35th year of the “Davis Children’s Nutcracker” and director Ann Smalley’s 21st year at the helm. Once again she has about 40 volunteers and leaders assisting.

As it has nearly every year, the “Nutcracker” sold out the day tickets went on sale to the public. In fact, the public in general rarely gets a chance to buy tickets. Families of participants have the opporunity to purchase six tickets in advance and many of them then line up at the city’s Community Services Department in the early morning hours the day the remaining tickets go on sale. Parents have been known to line up two or more hours before the office opens — usually in the cold, sometimes in the rain — to buy more tickets.

People’s plans do change, though, and tickets often become available for resale. Check the bulletin board in the lobby of the Veterans’ Memorial Center for updates. The “Davis Children’s Nutcracker” opens Wednesday and continues through Sunday.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or (530) 747-8051.



Anne Ternus-Bellamy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery



    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5



    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12





    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery



    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery



    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5