A new donor will help the annual production of “A Lewisburg Victorian Nutcracker” do something its never done before.
For the first time, both acts of the Nutcracker will be performed at the RiverStage Theatre, at the GreenSpace Center, Lewisburg, on Dec. 17 at 2 and 7 p.m. Strictly Ballet announced that Villager Realty, of Lewisburg, decided to supplement Coldwell Banker/Penn One Real Estate and the Barrick family’s donation to pay professional dancers to perform in the Nutcracker production.
“Martha and Alan Barrick are long-time supporters of the arts, and they and Coldwell Banker/Penn One Real Estate have been crucial for growing the Nutcracker,” said Trey Casimir, show producer. “Without their steady financial support, there’s no way we could have brought professional ballet dancers to Lewisburg for the last two years. Without professional level dancers, it’s almost impossible to perform the second act, but we’ve been able to do the second act twice, thanks to the Barricks’ generosity. This year we are going to perform the entire ballet, Acts I and II, for the first time, and as we stretch our performers and audience, so must our financial support stretch.”
Artistic director Amy Carter Casimir, also Trey Casimir’s wife, said the ballet’s goal is to train local dancers to a level that they wouldn’t need to hire people outside the area.
“Even then, though,” she said, “we would expect to pay performers of that caliber, so our donors will continue to be crucial in developing opportunities for local dancers. We are very fortunate to have received the Barricks’ support, and are thrilled to welcome Villager.”
Trey Casimir said the fact that the two businesses are industry competitor but decided to donate to same cause is satisfying.
“In the world of philanthropy, in the realm of supporting the arts, both are excellent stewards of the arts and committed supporters of the community,” he said. “In fact, Martha Barrick was personally responsible for recruiting a secondary major donor, and the fact that she turned to a competitor speaks volumes about her commitment to the arts and to the community. The fact that Villager responded positively speaks additional volumes to their grace and generosity of spirit.”
The producer — who is also an acupuncturist — said when they began “A Lewisburg Victorian Nutcracker,” he and his wife hoped others would understand they were trying to promote the community, provide entertainment and give local dancers opportunities to develop and perform.
“It has been extremely gratifying to see that, yes, not just the dancers and their families, but also area donors have seen and appreciated what we are trying to do, and have pitched in to do their part,” he said.
While Coldwell Banker/Penn One and the Barricks are the primary source of funds for paying the professionals, according to Trey Casimir, the portion that Villager is providing is significant.
“Previously, that came out of our pockets, and small town ballet teachers and acupuncturists can’t really afford that kind of load — the thing that we ideally provide to the production is our time, expertise and experience,” he said. “However, when you’re first getting something going you do whatever needs to be done — we did it happily, but it’s not sustainable to have such a big production be so dependent on two people.”
He thanked the production’s donors.
“RiverStage was the first brick in the wall we have been trying to build; our initial donors, like The Mercantile, Purity Candy and Dincher and Dincher were the second brick; the Barricks and Coldwell Banker/Penn One were the third brick,” he said, “and with the addition of Villager in our fifth season, we’re starting to see the foundation of a brick wall appear that can be built upon for future generations of dancers and dance-lovers. We are humbled, thrilled and grateful for all of our community support, but today we especially thank Villager Realty for the faith they’ve shown by joining us.”
For more information on the production, go to StrictlyBalletArts on Instagram or Facebook, or StrictlyBalletArts.com.