For the seventh season, students at Studio A Dance Conservatory will present a magical Christmas classic for Sedalians on the Heckart Performing Arts Center stage.

SADC owner and founder Anna Crumley Nelson said 50 students are involved this year with the annual ballet “Suite Dreams: The Tale of the Nutcracker.” New this year is an addition of a party scene and the incorporation of local adults and family members into the cast.

“We also have more male students involved in this show than ever before, there are five,” Crumley Nelson added. “The show has ages 2 through 18 and I feel every year our caliber of dance grows by leaps and bounds.”

This year playing the lead character “Clara” is dancer Emma Pettigrew, 17, a junior at Smith-Cotton High School. Pettigrew is the daughter of Todd and Desiree Pettigrew.

She said performing in the “Nutcracker” as Clara is every child’s dream.

“I’ve wanted to do it since I started (performing in) ‘Nutcracker,’” she noted. “So, it’s a blessing to be able to have Clara.”

This is Pettigrew’s fifth year performing in the annual holiday production. She has previously played a member of the Dolls, played with the Danish Quartet, and as part of the Chinese Dance.

She said rehearsals have been going great for all the dance students and added she loves dance because it provides an outlet for creativity.

“I don’t have to think about anything else outside of dance, which makes it better,” she noted. “So, I can just focus on dance.”

Pettigrew said when she graduates she plans to major in dance and will attend either Stephens College or the University of Kansas.

“I’m either thinking about commercial dancing or opening my own studio,” she added.

Chloe Buckley, 16, the daughter of Jim and Sherry Buckley, will play the Snow Queen this season. Buckley said this her second year to play the Snow Queen.

“I like it because it’s like a mature role,” she explained. “And I love to portray that. It’s very sharp movements — I just feel like a queen when I do it.”

When she graduates from SCHS she said although she’s undecided about a college major, dance would be a “possibility.”

Dancing for Buckley is not only creative but provides good exercise.

“It keeps me in shape and I love to do it,” she noted. “It’s also like a work in progress. You are never fully complete, you are still always working on something. You can never be the best at it, you are always working for something.”

Buckley has performed in all the former Studio A “Nutcracker” productions. In the past, she played Clara, the Soldier Queen, the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Arabian and has been in the Danish Quartet and the Doll Trio.

Crumley Nelson said she hopes the community will come out to see a performance of this year’s “Nutcracker.”

“As always, I hope to bring culture and art appreciation to our community by directing and producing an American traditional ballet,” she said. “My heart is bursting with pride for the cast and crew to debut.”

Studio A Dance Conservatory will present “Suite Dreams: The Tale of the Nutcracker” at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6 and at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at Smith-Cotton High School Heckart Performing Arts Center, 2010 Tiger Pride Blvd. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased at www.sadanceconservatory.com/nutcracker.html. For more information, call 660-827-0028.

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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