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&#8220The Nutcracker” takes a year off

A traditional part of Christmas in the Parkland is missing this year. The Young Peoples Performing Arts Theatre is not staging a production of &#8220The Nutcracker.”

&#8220It was really Kim Anderson’s decision,” said Katie Rhodes, president of YPPAT. &#8220She felt the families and dancers needed a year off.”

Kimberly Gavin Anderson has been artistic director of the production since it began in 1981. For the first three years, it was a yearly presentation. Then, organizers decided they would stage it every other year.

&#8220In 2000, I was blessed with a really passionate group of dancers and parents, so we decided to do it every year,” Anderson explained. &#8220But last year, I felt a sense of fatigue on the part of the dancers and their families.”

Fewer dancers had auditioned and ticket sales were lower than previous years. Those factors led Anderson to make the decision to return the production to every other year.

&#8220The Nutcracker” involves a cast of 60-100 dancers, most of them local students, and two professional dancers who are partnered with students in lead roles. Costs for the 2004 Nutcracker topped $36,000.

&#8220By giving people a year off, I hope it will stir our creative juices and everyone will be ready for next year,” said Anderson.

The production is already scheduled for the Centene Center Dec. 7, 8, and 9 in 2006. Donations for next year’s production made out to the non-profit YPPAT may be sent to Linda Sowers, YPPAT Treasurer, 118 SW Main Street, Bonne Terre, Mo., 63628.

In the meantime, Rhodes said sets for the production are being updated to make the 2006 production better than ever.

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