Max VanKnocken Witmer will be another featured dancer during the event.

Max VanKnocken Witmer will be another featured dancer during the event.

Nutcracker Ballet in BI online Dec. 18-19

  • Thursday, December 17, 2020 8:50am
  • LifeNews

Bainbridge Dance Center will present its first virtual Student Holiday Performance and Nutcracker Ballet at 6 p.m. Dec. 18-19.

Friday evening will feature holiday- themed dances performed by the center’s Tap program, new work from the Advanced Jazz and Modern Repertory classes, and original choreography by students at the center.

Saturday evening will be the center’s Bainbridge Island-themed Nutcracker Ballet, featuring the Grand Forest Fairy and her magical kingdom of dancing raindrops, wildflowers, deer, herons, orcas, eagles, hummingbirds, tree frogs, bunnies and bumble bees. Sarah Balding and Max VanKnocken will be the lead dancers, said Christiana Axelsen, director at the center.

She said last spring some students requested performing the Nutcracker for the holidays.

“In light of the challenges this year, this seemed like a wonderful way to reward our hard-working students and celebrate our community,” Axelsen said.

Axelsen is a former BDC student. She grew up attending both the old studio on Ferncliff and then the new studio on Madison. She was a faculty member at BDC from 2003 to 2008 when she moved to New York to continue her professional dance career. She returned to BDC in 2017 excited to inspire the next generation of BDC dancers.

The event will be online, of course, due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. But the pre-recorded performances will go online live those two nights at Suggested donation is $15 per viewer. Funds go for student scholarships.

BDC, located at 844 Madison Ave., has been having outdoor rehearsals under an 800-square-foot tent so everyone can stay 6 feet apart. They wear face coverings. Each class has just five members, again for safety’s sake.

Since 1981 the Bainbridge Dance Center has been dedicated to providing high-quality dance education focused on cultivating curiosity, generosity and professionalism. BDC offers classes online via Zoom in creative movement, ballet, modern, jazz, tap, Pilates and dance composition for children and adults.

The center was founded in 1981 by Elizabeth Olsen. Susan Thompson took over in 1990, but she died in 2012. BryAnne Bingham took over and then Axelsen took over in 2017.

The center’s faculty includes.

*Axelsen, who was born and raised on Bainbridge Island; Sandy Dreiling, music and dance; Helen Heaslip, movement direct of ballet; Kim Holloway, ballet, modern; Christina Kemp, creative movement; A graduate of the center Kim Lusk, pointe, repertory; Whitney Mayer, ballet; Laura Mille, aerial and circus arts; Gary Reed, intro to movement, modern, jazz, outreach program director; Kiplinn Sagmiller, ballet, modern, belly dance, aerial, circus, creative movement, feet wp; Gilbert Small, ballet; Kofi Williams, tap; Laura Kay Young, ballet; and Danielle Zack, Pilates and jazz.


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