Anna Snellgrove fluctuated her voice to set the tone of each scene in “The Nutcracker” as she read the book to children and their families Saturday afternoon at the Schlow Centre Region Library.
Dressed in costume, Snellgrove, who plays Marie in the Performing Arts School of Central Pennsylvania’s youth ballet performance of The Nutcracker,” was part of a six-member cast who hosted a live action read-along.
The five others acted out excerpts and got an audience applause at the end of each number.
The event was a way to promote the upcoming ballet that will be showcased at the Eisenhower Auditorium on Penn State’s campus next month, said Ann Van Kuren, company manager for the youth ballet.
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“Because we’re at the library, we wanted to tie in a library theme by reading the book, and showing a sneak peek of our performances, and help people understand what the storyline means,” Van Kuren said.
Van Kuren said the company’s performance is a traditional Victorian-type Nutcracker based on the book “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.”
included Bella Anderson, Alyssa Boob, Olivia Mulley and Chloe Snellgrove, and ballerino Emiyare Ikwut-Ukwa, who plays the Nutcracker prince, but the full cast includes about 75 members from the youth ballet from fifth to 12th grade.
Casting was held in mid-September, while weekly practices have been held since. Some of the dancers practice up to 19 hours a week, Van Kuren said.
The interactive read-along also allowed kids in attendance to learn a few ballet moves taught by Van Kuren and the dancers.
“We really want them to see all the effort that’s put into the production,” Van Kuren said.
“The Nutcracker” was no strange tale for Melinda Pearson.
The 6-year-old said it’s her favorite story to read during the holidays.
“Mommy reads it to me almost every night until Christmas,” she said.
That’s why Melinda and her mother, Dawn Pearson, decided to attend the afternoon event.
“The holidays are getting closer, and it’s nice she (Melinda) gets to interact with some of the girls in the ballet,” Pearson said. “They’re like real live characters to her.”
With about 50 seats set up, and three rows of children sitting on the floor, there was only standing room left for the rest of the guests.
Van Kuren said the event has had a good turnout each year.
This was the third year the Performing Arts School of Central Pennsylvania has held this event at the library.