Ballet academy

Texas Metropolitan Ballet Academy students ready for upcoming ‘Nutcracker’ performances | Local News

Students from Killeen-based Texas Metropolitan Ballet Academy are set to perform “The Nutcracker” at Killeen Arts & Activity Center and Temple Cultural Activities Center next month. Academy students auditioned for both shows in early September.

The family dance studio offers professional ballet training. Dancers of all ages are welcome.

Since 2016, the local ballet school has been bringing this classic holiday show to Killeen.

“The Nutcracker is a ballet that easily offers roles for even the youngest dancers,” said assistant director Jeanne Marie Marks. “Dancers often grow up performing ballet, and with each role they are cast in each year, they can often gauge their progress. Young dancers often start out as reindeer or angels and aspire to dance like a party boy or girl or dance like a ginger snap,

“If they got those roles, they watch the older dancers carefully and hope to one day be granted the role of a doll in the party scene, a snowflake or a doggerel or, even one day, the sugar plum fairy. It’s kind of like the ballet world’s version of report card and graduation,” Marks said.

Preparing for the annual show took a lot of time from all the dancers and their families. In addition to their academy classes, selected dancers attended weekend rehearsals from September 8 to November 17.

“Depending on the level of the dancer, between lessons and rehearsals, these young students devote between six hours and 18 hours or more per week. Many of our dancers also volunteer their time to help with KidZ Pro classes provided by KidZ Therapeze for their young patients with special needs,” Marks said.

Academically, dancers range from elementary school through college. Academy students devote their free time to their upcoming performances. Due to their hard work, many will enjoy a break this Thanksgiving weekend, officials said.

“Our students have done so well in their course that we are able to give them this Saturday off,” said Randall Marks, the principal.

Although the dancers are ready to enchant their audiences, students and staff still struggle with theatrical preparations. The academy will be setting up the Killeen Arts and Activity Center and the Temple Cultural Activity Center for presentations in the coming weeks. Both centers present their own advantages and challenges.

“The Killeen Arts & Activities Center provides the sound and lighting equipment, but we have to do it ourselves. They have great staff who are ready to answer our many questions and help where they can,” Marks said.

“The Temple’s Cultural Activity Center fortunately provides a sound, lighting and recording crew and some of the sets are provided via a canvas that they have on which images can be projected,” Marks said.

“Each year we have relatives and friends who volunteer their time and abilities to help with various tasks that help keep the production running smoothly. … It’s something that adds to the magic of The Nutcracker. Audiences see a smooth production, as all of these people have come together to dedicate their talents, often anonymously, behind the scenes,” Marks said.

The first three productions will be at 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2 p.m. Dec. 2 at Temple at 3011 N. 3rd St. Admission for children 18 and under is $7. Adults are $10.

The final three productions are at 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 15 and 2 p.m. Dec. 16 in Killeen at 801 N. 4th St. Admission for children is $10 for those 18 and under. Adult tickets are $17.

“This year, The Nutcracker will have new choreography…We also have new costumes and we were lucky enough to be able to purchase a new growing tree,” Marks said.

A limited number of Green Room VIP tickets are available for the December 15 show at 7 p.m. VIP tickets include light hors d’oeuvres provided by Let Us Do The Cooking, non-alcoholic beverages, behind-the-scenes tour, souvenir photo, and a chance to meet the director. VIP tickets are $45.