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. 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.
The West Michigan Youth Ballet Company is preparing for its first annual full-length Nutcracker Ballet, composed by Tchaikovsky, on Dec. 12 and 13, at the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center (FHFAC), 600 Forest Hills Ave., Grand Rapids. Four students from the Rockford school district are members of the company, and are looking forward to performing in this wonderful Christmas tradition. Rockford High School senior Rebecca Richmond will appear in the role of the Sugarplum Fairy in both matinees, and dance in the Reed Flute and Snow variation in the evening show. Rockford senior Kathleen Bomers will dance the part of the Kissing Doll in all three performances, as well as the Snow and Flowers variations, and has the lead role in Reed Flute. Lauren Hyink, a fifth-grader at Cannonsburg Elementary School, will perform as a soldier and in the Chinese Ribbon dance. Mary Camp, a first-grader at St. Patrick’s School will be a gingerbread and a mouse. All four girls are “nuts” about this ballet, and would love to have their friends and neighbors from the Rockford area join them to see the marvelous talent that is present in our city. Tickets are $12 for adults, and $6 for children 10 and younger. Performances will be on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. After the Sunday performance there is also the opportunity to take part in a “tea,” where you will be able to meet the dancers in person. Those tickets, which are available to performance ticket holders, are $2 for adults and $4 for children. Each child will receive a door prize and make a beautiful craft to take home. And, of course, refreshments will be served as well. After each performance the audience has occasion to buy beautiful Nutcracker-related gifts at the boutique, which make nice presents such as teachers gifts and mementos. Tickets can be obtained by calling the FHFAC box office at (616) 493-8966.