Visions of sugarplums, not to mention soldiers, dolls and even cuddly sheep will take the stage for a beloved holiday tradition: The Nutcracker Ballet, performed by the Wilton Dance Studio. This year’s production features more than 100 students and adults from seven area towns including more than 40 from Wilton.

Madeleine Woodworth, a Wilton High School senior, plays the lead role of The Sugar Plum Fairy this year. The ballet will be performed on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Clune Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Wilton High School on Danbury Road.

Of preparing for the performance, Madeleine said the show helps her manage the challenges of being a busy student. “I am a senior and I have countless college applications to complete in addition to my homework and stretching to keep up my flexibility. Dance is the best escape for me. I get to leave behind all of my schoolwork when I walk into the studio, and focus on dance and only dance.

“I really hope the audience enjoys the show,” she added. “Many people have worked so hard to bring this show together and we want the hard work to pay off. To me, there is nothing more satisfying and fulfilling than hearing the audience’s applause. After all, we are putting on a show for the audience. I’m so happy I started Nutcracker when I was young. It’s such a timeless story and being in the production is an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.”

This year marks the studio’s 16th annual production. Brenda Froehlich, Wilton native, owner and artistic director of the studio said, “This year is special because we continue to evolve our production’s look and our choreography to reflect the skills and personalities of the dancers involved. Even after 16 years, no two shows are ever alike. We love to surprise our students with the chance to wear a new costume or try a new dance, while maintaining our traditions as well.”

According to the dance studio the performance length is manageable for young children and it includes an intermission. The ballet, in two acts, 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.

Wilton Dance Studio’s Artistic Director Brenda Froehlich creates the costumes and overall production concepts. Scenery is provided by Mark Froehlich of J. Galt Design, a nationally recognized theatrical backdrop company. Choreography is by Ms. Froehlich and Wilton Dance Studio instructor and choreographer Debra MacDonald. A host of community and parent volunteers contribute to the final performance as well.

Tickets may be purchased by calling 203-544-9007 and leaving a message or visiting wiltondance.com. Click on “Nutcracker Performances” and download and print the ticket order form. Tickets are also available at the door on the day of the show.