By Emily Goggins, Maddy Majewski & Kirstynne Hock
The Nutcracker has returned to Green Bay for a local holiday tradition. This year, the show took place at the Weidner Center. The Northeastern Dance Company (NEWDO) will be accompanied by the Weidner Philharmonic for a live performance.
Scott Ronsmans, a returning performer for the Nutcracker, has been dancing since 14 years old. “I studied ballet, jazz, and modern dancing in college and have danced in many shows over the years. In “The Nutcracker,” I play Uncle Drosselmeyer. He makes all the magic happen for Clara,” Ronsmans recalled. “This is the 8th year that I have done this production. Being a part of “The Nutcracker” is like being with a good friend. It also means that the holidays are coming. We are all honored to be a part of many people’s holiday tradition,” Ronsmans said. “It has been a great opportunity to work with long-time friends and make many new friends. There are always new people to meet every year, and there are some friends who I’ve known for over 30 years involved in the show,” said Ronsmans. To come back to a live audience is “really exciting.” Ronsmans added, “We have a live orchestra this year on a new stage (the Weidner), so that adds to the company’s excitement.”
Curt Anthony Christnot, a returning dancer, has been in the Nutcracker for about 15 years. Christnot plays the primary dad in the first act of the ballet and Mother Ginger in the second act. For Christnot, his favorite part of “The Nutcracker” is playing Mother Ginger. “This is my baby.” Christnot said, After the first run-through as Mother Ginger, Tim, The Director, came over and said, “He’s perfect He’s perfect He’s perfect” it’s been his favorite ever since. Christnot said it’s “awesome” to get to perform such a well-known ballet. Christnot also shared that it’s fun to recognize songs from the ballet when out in public. For Christnot, getting back to a live audience is “very nice,” he said. “The Nutcracker” also means getting his Mother Ginger dress, not a typical costume, but a larger-than-life hooped skirt that young dancers come out of and perform.
This will be Mike Gegaer’s first year being in the Nutcracker, but he has been involved in the Green Bay Community Theater for a decade now. How he became a performer in the Nutcracker is that he was asked by someone that has been doing the Nutcracker for a long time. He was actually a fill-in because someone had to drop out. Gegaer said. “I am not a big dancer, but it is a small role that I could handle.” Being a part of the Nutcracker seemed overwhelming at first for Gegaer. He had never have been a part of the show. The whole format of the show is kind of a regular thing for some dancers that have been there long. Gegaer’s favorite part about being in the Nutcracker is a part of the whole production. Gegaer likes to be involved in something big like the Nutcracker and try new challenges. Gegaer said, “I was nervous because I didn’t know how much dancing there was, and I have danced in some shows but nothing like this one.” In the Nutcracker, Gegear would be doing a ballroom technique of dancing which is easier to learn. He has used this technique in the Green Bay Community theater, but this is his first time doing it in ballet. Gegaer said, “It is all entertainment, and it is that time of year where it is very nostalgic and heartfelt to people. That is what I enjoy.” Going to all the rehearsals didn’t end up as much work as he thought initially. At first, it was overwhelming, but once he got to rehearsals, it didn’t seem too bad. The Nutcracker means to Gegaer that it is nostalgic, and it brings out a certain feeling of the holidays.
Bonnie Kirschman has been attending the Nutcracker for the past nine years. She attended the Nutcracker at the Weidner Center this year with the live orchestra. The Nutcracker is always the start of the Christmas season for her. Kirschman said, “It is a tradition of mine to go and see it.” Kirschman doesn’t just have one favorite part about the Nutcracker, but two. One of the favorites is the part with Mother Ginger because Mother Ginger is always portrayed as a male who has been that way for centuries. The other favorite she likes is the Sugar Plum Princess because a professional dancer performs it. I am amazed at how they flow across the stage. She has gone to the Nutcracker with friends, her mom, and her daughter. Kirschman said, “It is a way of connecting music and dance during the holidays, and the Nutcracker is a popular German tradition.” She would consider auditioning for one of the mothers in the first act.