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Dancers to perform 'The Nutcracker - All Jazz'd Up'

Girls learn their dance techniques Tuesday at Top of the Stairs Dance Studio with instructor Jackie Sather, background. This group is part of more than 100 dance students who will perform in the upcoming Christmas performance. John M. Steiner / The Sun

"The Nutcracker - All Jazz'd Up" is this year's Top of the Stairs Dance Studio's Christmas performance. It will be on stage at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, in DeNault Auditorium at the Reiland Fine Arts Center on the University of Jamestown campus. More than 100 dance students, age 3 to teens, will perform.

Jackie Sather, owner, instructor and director, said the performance will start with classical Christmas music.

"That will be tap dancing to Christmas songs," Sather said.

That will be followed by religious Christmas songs performed in a worship dance.

"The worship dance is its own style, similar to liturgical dancing," said Megan Paiement, assistant dance instructor.

And finally, it's the jazzed up time in the show. "The Nutcracker" is a ballet, which is what those attending will see in this portion of the performance as well as traditional jazz dancing. It also features several solo performances.

"The storyline is the same with Clara and the Nutcracker who turns into the Prince," Sather said. "There's a remake of some of (Pyotr) Tchaikovsky's music for the all-jazzed-up part."

Ballet is featured in Tchaikovsky's "Waltz of the Snowflakes" and "Waltz of the Flowers." They are performed by three different classes in each "waltz."

"These are production numbers involving 30 kids each," Sather said."Those two numbers are 6 minutes in length and performed by classes with different age groups. And they're all local kids."

"The Nutcracker - All Jazz'd Up" required a lot different costumes as well as a lot of different dance styles. That makes for some fast and tricky maneuvering with 100 performers varying in ages and ability.

"There are many, many costumes and a lot of costume changes to fit the dances," Sather said. None of this would have been possible without Paiement or Colleen Krapp, who does the costuming and manages the office, Sather said.

"Without these two ladies I couldn't operate," Sather said of her 48 years at the Top of the Stairs.

But for her and the two ladies, the show and the kids make it worth all that goes into it.

"It's a fun show for all ages," she said.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students. Preschool children get in free.