By Ryan Ottney
December 5, 2013
Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
It just wouldn’t feel like the holidays without Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and the performers at Cirque d’Art in Portsmouth will be ready for “Le Nutcracker Cirque” at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.
“We’re really excited. We have four different pieces of circus aerial apparatus that we actually designed and originated, and that we had fabricated locally with the iron smith artists at Rush Welding that is just unique to this performance,” said Pegi Wilkes, director of Cirque d’Art.
The Cirque players had always performed a holiday show at the Southern Ohio Museum. With limited space and seating at the museum, the show was later moved to the larger Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University in 2011. That’s when Wilkes decided to do something even bigger, and “Le Nutcracker Cirque” premiered.
“I thought about it, and I thought if we’re going to make the jump to a big stage we may as well take on this project that both my co-director, Trisha Schmidt, and I have always wanted to do a Nutracker with this circus flair to it. So we said, now’s the time if we’re going to move to the big stage, we might as well tackle the big project,” Wilkes said.
The main cast has been rehearsing since summer, and the rest of the class has been practicing their routines since October.
“I think they’re doing really well. We have some people, like Sammy Matthews is doing the snowflake routine which is really the hallmark of our entire production for her second year. She has really perfected her routine and added a lot of her own choreography into the aerial snowflake. It’s really beautiful,” Wilkes said.
Others, like Hayden Schmidt and Alex Richardson, are spending extra hours to perfect their new roles.
This year’s performance of “Le Nutcracker Cirque” will be at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts, in Portsmouth, Dec. 15 with shows at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the McKinley Box Office, in the arts center, for $12 each adult and $10 for student and seniors. The group will also perform two special shows for area schools who reserve showings on Dec. 17, and tickets are $1 each at the McKinley Box Office.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.