Christmas wouldn’t feel like Christmas without Ahwatukee Nutcracker.
Fortunately, the community doesn’t have to worry about that because for the 19th consecutive year, Ahwatukee dance instructor Kimberly Lewis is planning another sell-out production.
But all that dancing and pageantry that accompanies her presentation of the Christmas classic takes a lot of work – and time.
That’s why she’s starting this month to gather her cast, pick her leads and get down to the long and arduous task of preparing a show that has become a generational favorite of Ahwatukee residents.
The first step to be taken is by anyone between the ages of 3 and 21.
They have to sign up at afnutcracker.com for auditions, which will be held Saturday, Aug. 11, at her Dance Studio 111, 4910 E. Chandler Blvd., suite 111, Ahwatukee. The show will be held Dec. 15 and 16 at Desert Vista High School. In the past, it has almost always sold out weeks in advance – which explains why tickets go on sale Sept. 15.
But Lewis has two caveats on the website:
“ONLY audition if you are open to ANY parts. Do NOT audition if you ONLY plan on doing the Nutcracker if you get the part you wished for.”
The audition is open to anyone in the Valley, not just Ahwatukee residents.
And not everyone needs to know how to dance. “We are looking for boys 5-19 for the party scene,” she said. “No dance experience needed” because the roles just call for acting. They need to show up at 11 a.m. for 15 minutes.
Dancers must have their hair pulled back in a tight ballerina bun and come dressed in black leotard, pink tights and ballet or pointe shoes.
Auditions begin 10-11 a.m. for dancers ages 3 to 8, who will have such roles as Baby Bon Bons, China Dolls and China Babies, Baby Mice, Little Angels and Little Nutcracker March Girls.
From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., dancers over 9 years old will be auditioning for Clara, Clara’s best friends, Nutcracker March Girls, March Girl Cousins, Bon Bon Dancers, China, Angels, Clown & Dolls, Lead Toy Soldier, Toy Soldiers, Mouse King, Fight Nutcracker., and Big Mice Dancers.
Between noon and 1:30 p.m. dancers 10 an up will be auditioning for a variety of roles, including Snow Queen and Snow Princesses, Sugar Plum Fairy, Butterfly Queen, Dew Drops, Spanish Queen, China Queen, Arabian Queen, Marzipan Queen, Russian Queen, Queen of Sweets, Angel Queen, Lead Angels Spanish Dancers, Arabian Dancers, Russian Dancers (tumblers and non-tumblers), Snowflakes, Marzipan Dancers, Waltz of The Flowers, Maids and Pointe Mouse Dancers.
Lewis said she knew there was so much talent in the Ahwatukee that she wanted to form a Nutcracker with a cast made entirely of children.
“There is something magical seeing young dancers perform these very difficult and challenging roles,” she said. “I have had many people come up to me throughout the years and told me “this was by far their most favorite and enjoyable Nutcracker Ballet. It truly is magical.’”
“We look for all ages and all levels of dancers and actors. The younger dancers do not need formal training as we will teach them the choreography, we also need young actors in some of the roles of the party scene” she said.
“I want everyone who wishes to be in the Nutcracker to come out to audition this year. This is an open audition and you do not have to be a student at Dance Studio 111 to audition and participate in the Ahwatukee Foothills Nutcracker Ballet. Everyone is welcomed.”
She also noted that, to her knowledge, the Ahwatukee Nutcracker is the only version in America with a cast all under 21.
She expects kids this year may be especially interested in a part because Disney is releasing a Nutcracker movie this year.
But those who played in Ahwatukee Nutcracker last year already know the thrill of being on the silver screen.
Drawn by its reputation for the all-kid cast, Skyline Films produced a film, “The Road to the Nutcracker,” about Lewis’ production.
It has made the rounds at a number of film festivals across the country following its debut at AMC Ahwatukee Theater in March.
“At the end of the movie, there was not a dry eye in the theater,” Lewis said. “This movie touched on so many emotions. Many people do not know the passion, dedication, joy and such a love that goes into putting together the Nutcracker. This was truly shown in the movie ‘The Road to the Nutcracker,’ and I am very excited to see when this movie is shown throughout the country in movie theaters.”
For questions about the audition: 480-706-6040 or email email@example.com.