Rockford students among Nutcracker dancers

Have you ever wondered how a mouse can become an angel? “No problem!” says 7-year-old Hanna Prost of Rockford. Who would think that this cute little Valley View Elementary School second grader can make that transformation effortlessly in but a few minutes, from a frightening little mouse who scares the living daylights out of Clara Stahlbaum to a sweet little angel who welcomes Clara to the Land of Sweets.

Mary Camp

Prost, who also enjoys ice-skating and soccer, has been studying ballet for three years at Rhythm Dance in Belmont. In her first year as a member of the junior company of the West Michigan Youth Ballet (WMYB), Prost has been rehearsing her parts every Sunday for the annual production of Tchaikowski’s Nutcracker Ballet.

Prost is joined by another young dancer from her home studio, Mary Camp. Camp is 8 years old and a third grader at St. Patricks. This is Camp’s second year with the WMYB, and she has three parts: gingerbread, big mouse and reindeer.

The WMYB has over 90 dancers, ages 6-18, from different dance studios in the Greater Grand Rapids area, Ada, Holland, Muskegon and Lansing. For all of these dedicated and talented young people, rehearsals are a lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun as they prepare to present once again this timeless ballet for our community.

Performances will be on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 1:00 and 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 12 at 1 p.m., in the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center, 600 Forest Hills Ave., Grand Rapids. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children aged 10 and under, and can be obtained at www.wmyb.org, at the door, or by calling (616) 682-4853. Saturday at 11:30 a.m., there will also be a special Nutcracker Tea, with crafts and refreshments, photo opportunities with Clara, and meeting some of the Nutcracker characters in costume. Tickets for that event are $12.

Prost and Camp would love to have their friends come and see them perform. And they promise they won’t scare off anyone, but they will be as sweet as an angel and a gingerbread man.

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