Nutcracker is school’s ballet debut

On Saturday 21st and Monday 23rd January, Headington School’s Royal Academy of Dance students performed ‘The Nutcracker’, in the School’s first dedicated Ballet show.

Dancers from both Headington Prep and Senior Schools (Year 1 – Sixth Form) collaborated together to perform this iconic work.

Ana, L5 pupil and ballet dancer, said: “After talking to our director – Miss Elspeth Wilson – about our version of ‘The Nutcracker’, I have found out just how much planning goes into making our show unique. A lot of the choreography was based on The Royal Ballet version; however, Miss Wilson (quite cleverly) also used steps that would appear in the students’ exams so they would be familiar with it. For some of the original dances such as ‘The Arabian Dance’ Miss Wilson used the Balanchine idea of having a coffee and tea dance to tone down cultural stereotypes therefore adapting them to fit the modern day.

“Even though there were some changes, in the end, Miss Wilson wanted it to have a historical feel rather than a modern setting.

“The audience described it as “magical” and “a delight to watch”, highlighting the incredible storytelling and costumes.

“As one of the dancers, I adored the choreography and the performance elements. It felt magical to be able to perform on our stage as the lighting and set perfectly fitted the enchantment of the piece. Behind the scenes, so much work was put in: many rehearsals, lots of costume changes and hair gel everywhere! After many months of rehearsals, it felt very rewarding to perform our work in front of an audience and to share the magic of the nutcracker with them all.

“In the end, the cast came together to take their final bow and as the curtain drew closed many were already dreaming about the next one.”

You can read Ana’s full account published in her role as a Young Reporter at the Oxford Mail here.

Mrs Faith Jackson, Director of Dance, said: “It was absolutely wonderful to see the dancers all working together and they all really enjoyed preparing for and performing in the show.

“Exceptional talent, ability and performance skills were demonstrated throughout and all the girls supported one another to achieve this outstanding performance. Well done to all of the dancers involved! A special mention goes to Miss Wilson for all of her work preparing for the show.

“The show was a huge success and we look forward to future Ballet performances.”

The Nutcracker Ballet 2023