Local Sisters Take To The Stage In 'The Sea Captain's Nutcracker'

By: Jennifer Sexton-Riley

Topics: Local Theater

Monica Welchman as Clara and professional dancer Matt Van as Young Sea Captain in “The Sea Captain’s Nutcracker” rehearsal at Turning Pointe Dance Studio, Falmouth.

For lovers of dance, the holiday season is incomplete without a performance of “The Nutcracker” to set the sugarplums dancing in one's head and the Christmas spirit soaring. This season, a special treat at Tilden Arts Center, located at Cape Cod Community College in Barnstable, will feature a pair of local sisters giving a Cape Cod seaside twist to a holiday classic written by one of Chatham's own bestselling authors.
Turning Pointe Dance Studio of Falmouth will present its biennial production of “The Sea Captain's Nutcracker,” based on a story by Chatham author Anne LeClaire, in three performances over Thanksgiving weekend. The performances will take place at 2 and 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27. Two local dancers, 13-year-old Monomoy Regional High School eighth grader Monica Welchman and her 17-year-old sister, Madison, a Monomoy senior play lead roles.
Set to Tchaikovsky's original score, the classical ballet production begins in a Chatham sea captain's home in the mid-1800s. The excitement onstage includes a battle scene on board the ship as it is attacked by mooncussers off the coast of Eastham and a storm off Monomoy Point which threatens to send the ship to the bottom of the sea. Will the captain (a stand-in for the classic Nutcracker character Drosselmeyer) make it safely home with his cargo of gifts for Clara?
The cast of over 100 professional dancers and dance students includes sailors, mooncussers, mermaids, pearls, jellyfish, starfish, mice and sandpipers, along with the classic characters Clara and Fritz. The seaside atmosphere is charmingly apparent during the “Waltz of the Sea Grass” and “Dance of the Icy Winds.”
Younger sister Monica Welchman plays Clara as well as one of Clara's friends, a Sandpiper, and a member of the Sea Grass.
“It's a big commitment with lots of rehearsal time, but it is so worthwhile and I am so happy to be a part of this,” Monica said. “I especially love the idea of the Cape Cod twist. It's just a beautiful and unique rendition of the classic Nutcracker, and none of this would be possible without our artistic director Laura Sciortino, and all the rest of our teachers.”
A dancer since the tender age of four, sister Madison has taken part in a production of “The Nutcracker” every holiday season for years. In this production Madison's roles include Beach Rose, Lead Arabian, a Sandpiper, Lead Spanish and parts on the Icy Wind and Snow scenes.
“Everyone involved has put 110 percent of their effort into making this a success, and we really have had smooth sailing,” Madison said. “We put in a lot of time during weekends, and it is wonderful to see how worthwhile all of the time we put into rehearsal was when everything comes together so well. We couldn't do it without our director Laura and all of the teachers who put in numerous hours to make the production run smoothly. Thank you!”
Tickets can be purchased at www.turningpointedancestudio.org. Discounts are available for children, seniors and groups of 10 or more. All seats are reserved and tickets may sell out, so purchasing tickets online in advance is recommended.