NewsPositively San Diego


Beloved holiday classic 'The Nutcracker' back in-person, on stage at San Diego Civic Youth Ballet

Posted at 7:03 AM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 13:31:50-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- What would the holidays be without The Nutcracker on stage? The San Diego Civic Youth Ballet is bringing back the holiday classic with just a few modifications.

The cast dressed in leotards and ballet shoes have been rehearsing together again in one of the Casa Del Prado Theater classroom studios. What a turnaround for these young dancers after doing this virtually and separately a year ago.

This year, 14-year-old Emmaryn Stones is leading the cast as Clara. Emmaryn said rehearsing virtually over the last year was hard.

“Especially after having full days of Zoom at school, it was rough, but I'm really glad that I just kind of persevered and stuck with it," Emmaryn said.

Emmaryn says this tough year of being away from her friends made her more resilient. Even so, she's over the moon to be back.

“The smell and even the energy of being back stage, the lights blinding you when you're performing, the audience members all of it," she told ABC 10News.

Artistic Director Danika Pramik-Holdaway said she loves be able to work with the kids in a group again.

“We're just all proud to see how fast they all bounced back. Just seeing them after being on Zoom for over a year and to see how much progress they still made," said Pramik-Holdaway.

When asked what the hardest part of transitioning back has been, Pramik-Holdaway said, “Honestly I would say I'm a lot more physically tired than I was last year. I think last year was a lot more mentally exhausting.”

She added, “We're here late at night so it's been a little bit more tiring physically, but it's more enjoyable.”

For Emmaryn, being back on stage with the others is not the only reason she's grateful. She is thrilled to be playing Clara.

“This is something that I've been dreaming of for years really. I feel very lucky and just very excited and Oh, I get the chills!” she said.

They're hoping the audience will, too. Though masks will cover the dancers' faces during the performances, there's no hiding how precious this opportunity is.

“Every holiday season is a special part for us and I feel like we do bring a little bit of extra holiday joy to life, but this is an extra special year so we're really happy to be able to do that for people,” said Pramik-Holdaway.

Lifting our spirits with the return of a holiday tradition filled with joy.

Emmaryn said, “We've put in so much hard work and we're really excited for people to come in and be able to experience the performance with us. It's such a colorful magical experience.”

Last year, the performances outside could only be watched online. This year, they're opening the theater to half capacity with everyone 5 and up being required to show proof of vaccination.

Younger children can show a negative COVID-19 PCR test result within 72 hours of a performance.

Tickets can be purchased on the SDCYB website. The shows start Friday, Dec. 10, and the performances run through Sunday, Dec. 19.