Rehearsing for Toe to Toe Ballet School’s “A Child’s Nutcracker,” are Taylor Ellsworth, as Snow Queen, and Nate Huberty as Snow Cavalier. Both are seniors at Elkhorn Area High School. Performances will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15-17 at the Sprague Theatre in Elkhorn. (Submitted photo)

Ballet school to perform ‘A Child’s Nutcracker’

By Heather Ruenz

SLN staff

When you combine the magic of Christmas with community spirit and the traditions of the ballet, you get “A Child’s Nutcracker,” at least in Elkhorn’s Christmas Card Town, according to Colleen Huberty, founder and director of Toe to Toe Ballet School.

This season, Huberty recommends members of the greater community treat themselves “to the Christmas magic, community members and professional guest artists at the historic Sprague Theatre.”

The area’s family friendly Nutcracker and has been created with young patrons in mind, she said.

“I don’t want to spoil the surprise but I can tell you that this year, our young patrons will play a special part in waking up our Nutcracker Prince after his battle with the Mouse Queen. It is a special interactive part they will share with Clara,” Huberty said.

In addition to offering new “delights and surprises” to patrons, the ballet offers theatre-goers a way to give back to the community.

“For the fifth year in a row, a percentage of all ticket proceeds will help to support the young women of Agape House. The young women will be special guests at one of the performances as well,” Huberty said.

Toe To Toe Ballet School students said they look forward to dancing for their peers.

“I love doing it (the show) because it makes them so happy. It brings joy to their eyes, which is fun to see. I don’t think they get a lot of that,” Taylor Ellsworth, a senior at Elkhorn Area High School, said.

Ellsoworth is one of Toe To Toe’s Select Performance Company members who will visit the school later in the year and work with the girls in a dance workshop.

Members of the community are also involved in this special performance.

“It takes a community to create a Nutcracker, and ours is no exception,” Pauline Urso, co-director, said.

Featured in the party scene, hometown celebrities include: Chris Clapper, executive director of the Elkhorn Area Chamber of Commerce and Jason Tadlock, superintendent for the Elkhorn Area School District who appear in the roles of Mr. and Mrs. Elkhorn in the party scene.

Also featured in the party scene, Dawn Heath, President of the Elkhorn Arts Foundation as well as the Director of Family and Child Ministries for Sugar Creek Lutheran Church, escorts the “Littlest Guest.”

“After raising three boys, it has been such fun to find my inner grace,” Heath said, jokingly.

“Building relationships with the children in our community helps to give them security in what they want to accomplish,” Heath added.

Other community members taking part include Jessica Shaffer of the Lakeland Players, Director of this year’s “The Grunch” who again plays the mother (Mrs. Stahlbaum) in the party scene and Madame Mint in Act 2. Edwin Scherzer, father of Toe To Toe dancer, Sage, and Director of the Summer Elk’s Players, plays the father (Mr. Stahlbaum) in the party scene. Jim and Jen Peltier, parents of Toe To Toe student, Ava, will also be dancing in the party scene.

Professional dancers, of Fort Wayne Ballet Company will guest star in the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, choreographed by Karen Gibbons Brown, executive director of the Fort Wayne Ballet. Marcia Hetrick who danced with Charlotte Ballet, Ballet Montana, Dayton Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet prior to becoming a company member in Fort Wayne, will be escorted by Sam Huberty, a former Toe To Toe student and a graduate of Elkhorn Area High School’s Options Program.

Choreographers include: Colleen Huberty; Pauline Urso – formerly of Rockford Dance and a current faculty member; Lacey Reynolds – a current faculty member, and; Mark Foster – formerly of Rockford Dance, Chicago Festival Ballet, Salt Creek Ballet.

“The pageantry of Nutcracker, combined with the historic and cozy feel of the Sprague Theatre, creates a one-of-a-kind holiday feel, worthy of Christmas Card Town,” Colleen Huberty said.

“A Child’s Nutcracker” will be performed at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 15, at 2 and 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16, and at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 17.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at Toe To Toe Ballet School, 5 W. Walworth, Elkhorn, at the Elkhorn Area Chamber of Commerce, 203 E. Walworth St, Elkhorn or online at

For more information visit or call 262-723-1700.


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