The Nutcracker, a family tradition

Published: Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 03:21 PM.

After years of dancing dolls and Sugar Plum Fairies, Noreen Poppell is still not tired of her annual "Nutcracker" production.

The director of Ballet Conservatory and Destin School of Music & Dance has brought the timeless holiday classic to the stage for more than 20 years, yet each year she can't help but get emotional.

"I get choked up just talking about it," Poppell said. "I love all of these kids. I've watched them grow from these little seeds and I'm so proud of them."

Every year, students get the chance to shine on stage in "The Nutcracker." Everyone has a role to fulfill, even the 3-year-olds, who typically play the mice.

"The talent is homegrown," Poppell said. "All of the children have grown up with our school and studio. We have parts for anyone three and older."

Since September, students have been putting in plenty of rehearsal hours throughout the week and even weekends — but you won't hear them complain.

"This is my favorite time of the year," said 15-year-old Cassidy MacDonald, who will be dancing during "Waltz of the Flowers." "'The Nutcracker' always gets me in the Christmas spirit."



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