What makes the holiday season special? Cherished traditions, music and festive decorations set the stage and Wilton Dance Studio 21st annual production of The Nutcracker ballet now adds something new. This year’s production, which features more than 50 dancers from Wilton, introduces both a meet-and-greet with dancers and a toy drive for Person-to-Person to share the joy of the season with those in need.

The full-scale production with lavish sets and costumes includes more than 80 students and adults from seven area towns. The ballet will be performed twice on Sunday, Dec. 9–at 1 p.m. and again at 4:30 p.m., at Wilton High School’s Clune Center for the Performing Arts.

“Each year, parents tell me their young children who come to the show fall in love with our special ballet and want to start dancing,” says Wilton Dance Studio creative director and owner Brenda Froehlich. “Many of our older dancers shared this happy experience when they were younger and carry that magic with them on the stage each year. This year, to inspire those young dancers, we’re adding a meet-and-greet and photo opportunity immediately following our 1 p.m. show. We welcome audience members to come say hello to their favorite dancers and see our beautiful costumes up close.”

A fun part of The Nutcracker ballet story involves the handing out of gifts to children at a festive party. Unfortunately, many families in the area can’t afford that luxury, so the Wilton Dance Studio was inspired to host a toy drive at both performances this year. Audience members are encouraged to drop off a new, unwrapped toy to be shared with a child in need. All toys will go to the local organization Person-to-Person. Kim Collibee of Person-to-Person said, “We are expecting to serve more children than ever this year, so the more toys we can get the better.”

Wilton Dance Studio’s Nutcracker is designed to suit to audiences of all ages while also challenging its dance students, who change roles and learn more complex choreography each year. The performance length is manageable for young children and does not require an intermission. The ballet follows the traditional story of Clara and her Nutcracker prince from E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, with music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Professional sets and elegant costumes complete the high-quality production.

To purchase tickets, call 203.544.9007 and leave a message or order online by downloading and printing the ticket order form. Tickets are also available at the door on the day of the show.

Pictured above:  (Front Row) Sarah Dickerson, Sophie Froehlich, and Alexa Marr; (Second Row) Lily Cristini, Peyton MacDonald, Jillian Tobey, Sidney Skott, Amira Srivastava, Kathryn Love, Emily Connell, Ryann Tobey, and Meredith Mobyed (Candy Cane Lead); (Third Row) Wilton Dance Studio director Brenda Froehlich, Grace Johnson, Rowan McGrath, Jamilah Santos, Lauren Minor, Charlotte Markey, Abby Jones, and Kate MacDonald; (Back Row) Carolyn Assef (Dew Drop Fairy), Ava Curto, Morgan Buchanan, Noa Gottlieb, Stacia Dooley, Alexandra Lyon, and Kirstin Finnecy (Sugar Plum Fairy). Photo Credit: Donner Photographic