Wilton Dance Studio’s Nutcracker for all ages

It’s the ballet with something for everyone: beloved holiday music, a bit of family drama, sparkling snow, battling mice and soldiers, ballerina fairies, and more. On Dec. 14 all these wonders come to life as the Wilton Dance Studio presents its annual Nutcracker Ballet.

This full-scale production features more than 80 students and adults from seven area towns including more than 40 from Wilton. Grace Cristini, a Cider Mill School fifth grader, plays the role of Clara this year. Michele Assef, a Wilton High School senior, plays the Sugarplum Fairy. The ballet will be performed on Sunday at 1 and 4:30 p.m. at the Wilton High School’s Clune Center for the Performing Arts.

This 17th year of the production is extra special to Brenda and Mark Froehlich, owners of the Wilton Dance Studio. Traditionally they share the Nutcracker stage with their son Brian Froehlich and his wife Sara. Now the family welcomes a third generation to the ballet, Brian and Sara’s 10-month-old daughter Sophie, who will make her stage debut in the lavish opening party scene.

“We’re thrilled to have our beautiful grandchild be part of a holiday tradition that is so special to our family,” said Brenda Froehlich, a Wilton native and artistic director of the studio that has been in Wilton for 25 years.

It’s not just multiple family generations that make this performance special, Ms. Froehlich said.  Students also enjoy being part of a different “dance generation” each year.

“Our Nutcracker is designed to respect the ballet tradition while giving our dancers a chance to grow with it,” she explained. “Dancers love to find out what part they have in the show each year and it’s a way to mark their progress. The Nutcracker offers so many great roles, from our pre-schoolers who play adorable sheep to our high schoolers who learn challenging roles like the Snow Queen or Sugarplum Fairy. We’re proud of all our dancers’ commitment to create a memorable show.”

Grace Cristini says her role as Clara isn’t the only part about the ballet she loves. “The Nutcracker makes it feel like Christmas, and I love playing the part in a story that has been around for a long time. I also love the music and the costumes.”

The family-friendly ballet follows the traditional story of Clara and her Nutcracker prince from E.T.A. Hoffman’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” with music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Professional sets and elegant costumes complete the high-quality production. All ages are welcome.

Tickets information is available by calling 203-544-9007 and leaving a message or order at wiltondance.com, click on “Nutcracker Performances,” download and print the ticket order form. Tickets are also available at the door on the day of the show.