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'Nutcracker' is ‘joyful outlet’ for community
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'Nutcracker' is ‘joyful outlet’ for community

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Kimberly Gavin Anderson, creator of Young People's Performing Arts Theatre (YPPAT) and teacher of dance for decades, said her mother always told her that the musical movies thrived during the Great Depression because people were desperate to find a few hours of joy in the painful challenge of their daily lives.

“This year of 2020, our students, our community need a joyful outlet to find celebration,” said Anderson.

That’s why she says "The Nutcracker 2020" will be “more vitally important than any season in our 40-year history.”

She emphasized the importance of the arts has never been so great. The COVID-19 pandemic caused many activities and arts-related programs to come to an abrupt standstill this past spring. Some organizations have not yet resumed activities.

The Young People’s Performing Arts Theatre (YPPAT) is planning to host this year’s Nutcracker performances Dec. 10-12.

YPPAT is a non-profit 501 (c) organization formed in 1981 to let local dancers be part of a large-scale, semi-professional production.

Anderson said the positive growth of the YPPAT over the past 40 years brings with it the “growing pains” of now meeting monthly expenses even when not in production season: rental of storage for massive scenery, props and extensive wardrobe, costs of insurance for property and professional coverage, as well as professional administrative expenses.

“Our wardrobe is expansive and used from season to season,” she said. “Each year, we attempt to replace those costumes that are overly worn or deteriorated with age.”

Anderson said in order to be cost-conscious, this year YPPAT will only replace costumes on an extreme need. To save money, no scenery or props will be added to this year’s production.

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Cast members of this year’s Nutcracker are selling fresh, fragrant, high-quality greenery including wreaths, garland, door swags and centerpieces to offset production costs. Anyone who would like to purchase an item to help fund this year’s Nutcracker production should contact a Nutcracker cast member or call Alycia Burgess, YPPAT’s greenery fundraiser coordinator, at 573-915-6992.

The greenery fundraiser ends Oct. 25.

The organization has been in negotiations with a past guest dancer who has previously worked with YPPAT for several years.

“He brings with him the talent and knowledge to professionally mentor our dancers as well as perform for the community who otherwise may never see a professional dancer in live production,” Anderson said.

She said the costs are substantial, but a high priority for YPPAT.

Anderson said she cannot imagine local artists and the community at large without The Nutcracker ballet.

“Farmington is a city of tradition and progress, a phrase that perfectly exemplifies the arts,” she said. “The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition, and the community will embrace the tradition as well as support the effort knowing full well the value it brings to young, growing artists and the patrons who are transformed in the magic of the theatre.”

Recently an alumni family sent a donation to YPPAT. This former dance mom included a note with her family’s check: “Years ago, you [Kim] told me that every dancer should have the opportunity to perform in the Nutcracker … Today I would like to reiterate my heartfelt sentiment and reaffirm: ‘Every dancer should have the opportunity to perform in the Nutcracker.’”

Anderson said individuals and corporate donors will be recognized in the Nutcracker playbill. Donors of different levels may receive performance tickets and also sponsor advertisements.

Monetary donations may be made to Young People’s Performing Arts Theatre, PO Box 1112, Farmington, MO 63640. Inquiries may be sent to balletartsctr@outlook.com.

Pam Clifton is a contributing writer for the Daily Journal

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