Beautiful ballerinas and the sounds of Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky emanating through the Seaside Amphitheater can only mean one thing: The Nutcracker is coming to 30A.



For the first time ever, this Christmastime favorite will be performed for onlookers Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. at Seaside’s central Amphitheater, free of charge.



SNS ballerinas will join dancers from the Alpharetta Dance Theatre in the performance of the timeless Christmas classic. The partnership was formed Oct. 16 when Seaside co-founder Daryl Davis attended the Atlanta-based company’s performance for the school’s new dance academy, which celebrated its first year as a fully operational program this past August.



The Merchants of Seaside knew that visitors and guests would love to see more and decided to showcase the dancers’ talents with The Nutcracker.



“Davis was very emphatic to offer this as a gift to the public,” said Seaside Neighborhood School ballet mistress Seleta Hayes Howard, “bringing that culture and a way to experience the Christmas spirit together.”



Howard started a ballet mentoring program at SNS in 2009, and instructed blossoming ballerinas out of Robert and Daryl Davis’s home in Seaside. She wanted to incorporate it with an educational element and started talking with then-SNS Principal Cathy Brubaker about adding a dance program as an alternative physical education program at the middle school. Brubaker was on board, but with limited funding, it had to be turned down.



Howard took Brubaker to lunch to thank her for considering the idea, and by the end of lunch, the ladies had a plan.



“We said we’re doing this with no money,” said Howard, who said the two then sought private donations to fund the five-day-a-week dance program.



Support soon came from a source close to Seaside to fund the program as an alternative to physical education at the middle school. “Daryl Davis was our patron. She believed in us,” said Howard.



Davis was also helpful in bringing in Alpharetta Dance Theatre from Atlanta, and Director Rose Barile was happy to visit and share her girls’ talents and inspire the SNS students, who are led by Howard, one of Barile’s former students.



“Rose was my trainer in college,” said Howard, adding that their mentor-student relationship has been ongoing throughout both women’s careers.



With such a successful reception after the Dance Theatre’s October presentation and workshop, the two ballet mistresses, along with Davis, decided the two groups should collaborate for a Christmastime performance of The Nutcracker.



Barile said her 7- through 19-year-old dancers “love sharing what they do,” and are pleased to imbue SNS ballerinas with the same kind of passion for the art. “They can live every little girl’s dream to be a part of the Nutcracker.”



“They identify with the girls,” said Howard of her sixth through eighth grade students. “It’s an incredible influence for our girls. It’s amazing to watch them work together. We love that.”



For the initial performance, the Seaside School ballerinas will be angels, with the Alpharetta Dance Theatre performing the rest of the roles.



Both women are excited to further incorporate the local dancers into the holiday celebrations at Seaside, as well as to weave an extra thread of culture into the Seaside fabric.



“My hope is that we can incorporate them more and more,” said Barile, who agrees with Howard that this production will be the start of an annual Seaside tradition.



“I think this is just a very small start to something that will be very big,” said Howard.



Barile and her dance company have been performing the play for 16 years in north Atlanta, and she thinks Seaside will be the finest setting for its next performance. 



“I have fallen in love with Seaside,” said Barile. “It’s a fantastic, beautiful, well-developed community.  I think ballet completes the picture.”



Seaside merchants invite residents and visitors to see the talents of the SNS ballerinas Saturday, Dec. 8, at 5 p.m. for the one-hour production of The Nutcracker. Bring chairs, blankets, and coolers and relax in the Seaside Amphitheater for the first performance.