Lawton Ballet Theatre presents ‘The Nutcracker’

Kristen Bass
Staff Writer
On Dec. 11 and 12, at the Cameron University Theatre, The Lawton Ballet Theatre (LBT) will be performing “The Nutcracker.”
‘The Nutcracker” is a full length ballet that begins with a Christmas preshow at 6:15 p.m. LBT’s musical theatre class will be performing in Victorian style clothing in the lobby as carolers and later in a big performance on stage.
Katie Veenhuizen, the artistic director and owner, founded the Lawton Ballet Theatre with her husband, Scott.
“We decided to open LBT about thirty one and a half years ago due to a desire to spread the love of dance and performance,” Veenhuizen said. “This event is a passion for me. I performed in ‘The Nutcracker’ growing up and it just became a way that marked my progress as a performer.”
Veenhuizen trained 23 years starting at the age of 4. Later, Veenhuizen went off to college to get a BFA in musical theatre and a BFA in dance.
Veenhuizen has plans to build and expand the programs at LBT.
“This year we started a musical theatre class [which] will actually be performing a Christmas preshow for ‘The Nutcracker,’” Veenhuizen said.
For dancers who are interested in becoming a part of LBT, dancers need to be enrolled in one of LBT’s ballet classes.
“Each class is assigned a corps role in the ballet,” Veenhuizen said, “and soloists and principal dancers are chosen from our tier 3 and 4 classes – ages 10-adults.
“We do have some community members who volunteer for the party scenes: teachers, pastors and soldiers,” Veenhuizen said. “It’s a wonderful community event. Students who are soloists or principals must attain a certain level of mastery to be considered.”
Sue Tyrrell is a student at the LBT and a relatively new student to ballet.
“I am enrolled in advanced tier 4 Ballet, and Contemporary Ballet classes,” Tyrrell said.
“I began dancing as an adult, having never taken dance as a child. I actually got involved in it through liturgical church dancing in worship settings. I was hooked and decided to take classes.”
Tyrrell’s foundation of dance was the year she spent at Dance Gallery in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It’s run by Jackie Kriens, one of only 247 people in the world to be a Diploma Fellow Member of the Cecchetti Council of America. There, Tyrrell studied Cecchetti and then moved to Alabama where she also was fortunate to study with another Cecchetti dance school.
“So even though I don’t have the foundation many young people have,” Tyrrell said, “I’ve had terrific teachers and have been able to have fun dancing, as well as learn important technique.”
Last summer, Tyrrell joined LBT again for two different summer camp intensives. Tyrrell enjoyed herself and decided to enroll in fall classes.
“Because I was in the advanced tier 4 class, that class was set to do ‘Waltz of the Flowers,’ and so I decided to commit to do it. They also picked soloists and special numbers from classes, and they cast me as one of Spanish Hot Chocolate. Apparently I got that role because of my sass!”
Tickets for The Nutcracker are $6.25 for children and seniors and $8.35 for adults.
For more information on the LBT and its performances, visit lawtonballettheatre.com.

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