The Nutcracker at Colgate University.

The Colgate Ballet Company performs The Nutcracker in November. (Photo by Ashlee Eve ’14)

The Colgate Ballet Company and 46 children from the Hamilton community embraced the 2013 holiday season early with their annual production of the classic winter favorite The Nutcracker.

This student-directed, student-choreographed, and student-performed ballet produced more than a full house at Brehmer Theater as some audience members had to stand on both performance nights, November 20 and 21.

Outfitted in colorful and beautifully detailed costumes, the two acts showcased a range of experience against a backdrop of a glitter-coated, sparkling tree that grew larger midway through the production.

The local children were directed by and rehearsed weekly with Malin Lilley ‘15, Rebecca Johnson ’15 and Rehman Momin ‘15.  The children’s personalities were allowed to shine without taking center stage, and their performances were met with genuine laughter  and appreciation from the audience.

Shining on center stage, however, were dancers Justin Lannin ‘15, who had no previous experience, and Allison Zengilowski ’17, who has (the lucky) 13 years of experience.


Photos by Ashlee Eve ’14

In comparing this performance to past Nutcracker productions in which she appeared, Zengilowski said that “it was a much more collaborative process because we were both kind of figuring out what each other needed to successfully do in order to partner.”

Zengilowski pointed out how much hard work and time went into the production; the performers and co-directors, Chloe Holt ’14 and Danielle Iwata ‘15, started rehearsals in early October and rehearsed about six hours per day in the week leading up to the performances.

The hard work and dedication seemed to pay off as the turnout and audience feedback indicated the power of Colgate’s production to connect the university and the town.

“It was surprising and took me back that a lot of new people who didn’t know me in any way came up to say, ‘thank you’” said Zengilowski.

“I think a lot of times people forget that The Nutcracker is entirely student-run, but I think that’s also what makes it most rewarding,” said Colgate Ballet Company president and co-director Holt ’14.  “It has expanded so much even since I participated in The Nutcracker my first year at Colgate and I can’t wait to see how it evolves in future years here.”

Production of The Nutcracker was organized entirely by Colgate students. (Photo by Ashlee Eve '14)

Production of The Nutcracker was done entirely by Colgate students. (Photo by Ashlee Eve ’14)