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Coming soon: Nutcracker auditions Sept. 23

By Melissa Wagoner

Growing up, Marta Hazekamp performed nearly every role in the Unger Academy of Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker – and she loved it. 

“Then as a teenager, the Salem Ballet Association [now disbanded] partnered with Eugene Ballet Co. and hosted the children’s roles so that kids from all over the valley could dance with professionals on stage,” Hazekamp recalled. “This was an invaluable experience for me and others, and in fact, later became my first professional ballet dancing contract.”

But it was far from her last. Instead, Hazekamp went on to dance professionally in both Portland and New York before returning to her hometown of Silverton where she opened her own dance studio – first under the name American Academy of Performing Arts for 13 years, then as Revolutionary Dance and Performance Co., now in its fourth year. But she never forgot the impact The Nutcracker had on her as a child.

The Nutcracker is a holiday performance that many families see annually as a tradition,” she said.
“It’s often a child’s first exposure to ballet, and because it has fun, diverse music, cultures, and characters throughout the storyline, it appeals to all ages. I saw this as an opportunity to bring important exposure to dance of all ages for our community.”

And so, she set out to bring The Nutcracker back to Silverton, initially including 25 community members of all ages and abilities in 2021, then, in 2022, more than doubling that number to include 55.

“[I]nstead of just opening it up to local dancers, I wanted to welcome anyone and everyone,” Hazekamp said. “One of the most important things that the performing arts can do is bring people together. I felt we needed to create a new opportunity to grow healthy relationships and connections in our community.”

And it’s happening again! On Sept. 23 Revolutionary Dance will once again hold open auditions to anyone interested in being a part of this year’s show, which will likely take place in mid-December on the stage at Silverton High School.

Hazekamp encourages anyone interested to pre-register via a link, which can be accessed via any of the studio’s social media pages. “We are too big to do paper registrations anymore so it’s now electronic,” Hazekamp said. But it will still be just as welcoming.

“This isn’t a stuffy experience,” she said. “The auditions aren’t to weed people out – everyone who auditions gets a role! – it’s for me to see the abilities and how many cast members I have to work with, how many costumes we have, etc… I choreograph to the needs and abilities of those I have to work with. You would not be made to do something that you couldn’t do. It’s a time commitment, but it’s so fun and totally worth it. [P]erformers to tell me afterward how sad they are that it’s over. They make new friends and look forward to rehearsals each week. It brings light to their souls at the darkest part of the year.”

Everyone welcome to join in

Open auditions Saturday, Sept. 23 

Revolutionary Dance & Movement Co. 118 Brown St. Studio B, Silverton

All ages, genders, sizes and abilities welcome.Preregistration encouraged: Facebook.com/RevolutionaryDance

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