Dance Factory’s annual ‘Nutcracker’ to be performed at Green Mountain on Dec. 11 & 12

Leading cast of the Dance Factory’s Nutcracker. All photos by Denise E. Photography.


Join Clara on her magical journey to the Kingdom of the Sweets in The Dance Factory’s production of The Nutcracker. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the family-friendly holiday tradition, which annually delights upward of 800 attendees. The full-length, professionally costumed spectacle will be staged at Green Mountain Union High School, 716 VT-103 in Chester at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11 and 2 p.m. on Sunday Dec. 12.

Advance tickets are strongly encouraged this year and can be purchased at Tina’s Hallmark and Woodbury Florist in Springfield, and in Chester at Sage Jewelry and Gifts, and Blair Books.

Online tickets are available through Eventbrite by clicking hereLimited tickets will be available at the door. Admittance to the show is $13/adult and $8/under 18. Please note that masks will be required of all audience members as per district Covid-19 regulations.

Ayla Price of Green Mountain will perform Snowflakes, Sugar Plum Fairy and Marzipan.

“It’s been wonderful to have been a part of The Nutcracker since its start,” says Dance Factory owner and Chester resident Kate DeRosia, who has seen the show grow in scope and complexity. The production now has so many costumes that a climate-controlled room was built in the studio’s basement to house them all. The numerous custom set pieces include a growing Christmas tree, a life-sized sleigh, and an ornate bespoke throne, and require a dedicated set crew—including DeRosia and husband, Mark.

When asked about her backstage duties, DeRosia laughs and says, “We do anything and everything that needs to be done!” She adds, “Seeing the joy on the dancers’ faces, their parents, friends, and extended family, makes every difficulty worthwhile.”

One of this year’s principal dancers is Ayla Price, a junior at Green Mountain Union High School. This marks her seventh season in The Nutcracker, where she will be performing in three variations: Snowflakes, Sugar Plum Fairy and Marzipan. “This year I have the honor of performing my dream roles of Sugar Plum and Snow Queen,” said Price, who began her ballet training in the sixth grade. “Dancing multiple roles can get confusing but it just encourages more dedication and attention to detail. This is the best opportunity anyone could ask for.”

Returning as The Nutcracker Prince is Chester native Ben Haseltine, a senior at the University of Hartford where he is pursuing a BFA in Acting. Haseltine has performed in The Nutcracker since 2015 and has the distinction of being the only dancer in the show’s history who has partnered his fellow soloists in the pas de deux. Of his ongoing commitment to The Nutcracker, Haseltine says, “I am excited to be back on stage and dancing again with such an amazing and diverse group of people.”

Ben Haseltine as the Prince,

While The Nutcracker functions in part as a showcase for Dance Factory students, it was designed as a way to bring accessible arts to the community, a tradition that owner DeRosia enthusiastically continues. To lower the financial burden of attendance, ticket prices are kept low—well below other regional productions. For those who cannot attend in person, performances are recorded and broadcast by SAPA TV. Through its history, in excess of $20,000 in proceeds have been donated to local arts initiatives, including the Springfield High School Drama Club.

The show is directed by Ashley Hensel-Browning, with choreography by Hensel-Browning and Dance Factory founder, Susan Hagan.

Support for The Nutcracker has been generously provided by the following local sponsors: Bean Group, Bibens Ace Hardware, Denise E. Photography, Edgar May Health & Recreation Center, Edward Jones, Gurney Brothers Construction, Halladay’s Flowers and Gifts, HB Energy Solutions, Heritage Deli and Bakery, Inn at Weathersfield, National Field Representatives, Six Loose Ladies, Smokeshire Design, Springfield Co-op, Style House Salon, Tina’s Hallmark and Willow Farms. The Chester Telegraph is the Media Sponsor.

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About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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  1. Jennifer says:

    Oh my beautifully graceful Ayla ❤️ I cannot wait to see you dance 🩰