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Peterborough teens to perform in The Nutcracker

  • Madilyn Cilley, 14, of Peterborough, will perform for the first time in The Nutcracker this year.  —Courtesy photo

  • Sierra Horne of Milford performs as the Snow Queen alongside guest artist Forrest Oliveros during last year’s production of The Nutcracker. Photo by AnnMarie Lidman

  • Lei-Lani Finch, 16, of Peterborough, will be appearing in Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater’s performance of The Nutcracker this weekend. —Courtesy photo

  • Lei-Lani Finch, 16, of Peterborough, will be appearing in Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater’s performance of The Nutcracker this weekend. —Courtesy photo

  • Lei-Lani Finch, 16, of Peterborough, will be appearing in Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater’s performance of The Nutcracker this weekend. —Courtesy photo

  • Lei-Lani Finch, 16, of Peterborough, will be appearing in Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater’s performance of The Nutcracker this weekend. —Courtesy photo

  • Lei-Lani Finch, 16, of Peterborough, will be appearing in Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater’s performance of “The Nutcracker” this weekend. —Courtesy photo



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Friday, November 24, 2017 10:9AM

“The Nutcracker” contains some of the most iconic pieces in all of ballet: The Russian dance, the Waltz of the Flowers, and of course, the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. And watching the story of young Clara and her Nutcracker Prince has become a holiday staple. This year, two Peterborough girls will be part of the magic.

Each year, the Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater of Bedford puts on its annual “Nutcracker”production at the Manchester Palace Theater, complete with a live orchestra – led this year by none other than Grammy winner and world-renowned conductor John Williams – and guest artist performing alongside local dancers.

Among those local dancers this year are two Peterborough teenagers, Lei-Lani Finch, 16, and Madilyn Cilley, 14, both of whom are taking on several roles in the ensemble. Cilley will perform the roles of an elf, a maid and in the Arabian Ensemble. Finch will perform the roles of a doll, a flower in the Waltz of the Flowers and in the Dance of the Mirliton. 

For Cilley, it will be her first time performing in a professional ballet. But she’s no stranger to the story of the Nutcracker.

“When I was little, my mom used to take me to a different one every year,” she said – including the Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater’s version. At the time, she admired how the cast was a mix of young dancers and experienced veterans. Now, she gets to experience it from the other side. 

“This is my first year with Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater,” said Cilley. “At my old dance studio, we would do a year-end production or other little performances, but I’ve never been able to do a big ballet like this.”

And while this isn’t Finch’s first time performing in a Nutcracker, it will be the first time she’s participated in the Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater’s version – and she’s taking on some of her biggest roles in the production she’s had so far.

“It felt very rewarding,” said Finch, of being awarded parts in the production. “Before, I had never really gotten the parts that I really wanted.”

That’s one of the exciting things about ballet for Finch, she said – getting to see the hard work that she puts into it ultimately pay off. 

Both girls have been honing their dancing since they were young – Cilley started dance classes as little more than a toddler, and Finch took after her mother and started tap and jazz at age 6. But in recent years, both of them have started to narrow their focus into ballet. 

“I like the way that I can express myself and tell a story without having to say anything,” said Cilley. “There are so many stories that have been passed down for such a long time.”

For Finch, she said, she continually falls in love with the music of the ballet. One of the reasons she is most excited to be part of the ensemble for the Waltz of Flowers is because she loves the music. Getting lost in it, and dance, has been therapeutic for her, she said.

“It makes me leave everything at the door and forget about stuff for an hour and thirty minutes. It basically calms you,” she said. 

The annual performance, boasts a cast of over 85 talented dancers and performers, including guest artists Carlos Molina, Alan Alberto, Fred Davis, Jere Hunt, Ty Parmenter as well as other local dancers, including Sierra Horne of Milford in the the coveted role of Sugar Plum Fairy, as well as the parts of a snowflake in the Snow Scene, and in the Dance of the Mirlitons. 

The Nutcracker will be performed at the Palace Theatre in Manchester on Nov. 24 through Nov. 26, including shows on Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for children and $39-46 for adults. For more information, or to buy tickets visit www.palacetheatre.org or call the Palace Theatre Box Office at 668-5588.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.