Yerington, Nevada December 4, 2023 Review of The Hometown Nutcracker
Few if any community events available for review and comment offer potential for commendation as great as the recent presentation of Tchaikovsky’s children’s ballet The Nutcracker.
Presented by Through A Child’s Eyes Foundation and staged in the local Jeanne Dini Theatre to the delight of many in the region, it was an enjoyable testimony to the dedication of its directors and participants, especially the children who performed so admirably.
Many kudos to them all, the list is long, but must begin with Cathe Faretto and Karen Pederson, writers and producers of a unique version of this ballet, a truly “hometown” version of an old and familiar work of art in music and pantomime. They collaborated with Kay Hardesty to produce their version and with Staci Carlson and Antonia Roots, dance instructors, to accomplish a presentation involving so many details that were so wonderfully administered that one cannot begin to comprehend the time and effort involved unless, like this commentator, one has but even a minor role in it.
The Mason Valley Singers began three of the four performances with caroling of traditional and contemporary seasonal songs that set the mood for this featuring of the community’s children in costume and character of a seasonal favorite ballet.
But anyone in attendance at this artistic presentation knows from the program who did what and who enabled the doing. What this commentator wishes to emphasize is the why the doing was done. Thinking as a retired educator, the reason first and foremost is to nurture confidence in children’s ability to perform as they are instructed by adults who truly wish them success. Methods and material involved in how that confidence is gained take a back seat to the fact that is gained, that the participants leave the experience knowing that they can succeed. That is a major step in developing positive self-image, one that can persist through failure or any other obstacle to a goal. Learning the disciplined focus necessary to practice and perform is another valuable asset of the experience. Affirmation by adults is another asset, one that builds trust that their role in the future is significant and will be appreciated. The community is the winner in this cultural context and it is of great importance that such efforts be supported, the future of each generation depends on the upcoming one.
So we are grateful to these children for their performance and to the many adults who aided them. Let’s continue our support of their efforts, it is both our duty and our reward to do so.