On a recent filming trip in Guyana, we took a side trip into the Georgetown market. Mannequins in gaudy dresses lurked over pyramids of mangos and sacks of ginger and turmeric. Snake-oil stalls sold potent 'scorpion chili sauce' and 'hard wine', which promised to do for male consumers exactly what it said on the tin. Piles of fish from both the Caribbean and rainforest rivers were brought in at the docks by sweat-drenched muscular porters, before being thrown onto scarred wooden tables, where they were hacked with hatchets and scrapers, as locals poked, prodded and bidded over them. These markets fascinate and repulse in equal measure. Here chunks of giant arapaima lie alongside lanternfish, tarpon and mackerel. Flea-bitten parrots and finches look down sorrowfully from tiny wicker cages at lines of giant banana catfish that could have been twenty-five years old, bigger than anything I've ever seen in the wild. These 'wet markets' can tell the naturalist an immense amount about the fauna of the surrounding country, whilst giving a dizzying sense of ... http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/steve-backshall/musings-on-markets_b_8872774.html
Every year, we grow by 30 to 40 dancers,” Demianiuk said. “Now we’re a ballet on the North Shore, drawing dancers in from Woburn to Wilmington, Georgetown to Everett. There’s so many dance schools north of Boston. Friends bring friends.”
Having two casts helps accommodate the growth.
The productions also are high-caliber. Two professionals — Ruth Whitney and Alan Alberto — dance lead roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince.
Typically filled by a professional, the Nutcracker role this year went to Jason Creamer, only the second male dancer from within the troupe who met the standards. The first, Jonathan Leonard — Christina’s brother — now studies and performs at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York.
A junior at Woburn High School, Creamer said he never knew about the Melrose Youth Ballet until he saw a neighbor dance in the show a few years ago.
“I thought it was magical to watch,” he said.
He joined the following season, and at age 12 Creamer performed the role of Fritz, Clara’s little brother. “He’s a Nutcracker in the making,” his parents were told.
Though he dances with three studios — Just Dancin’ in Woburn, Aurora Borealis Dance Company in Wakefield, and Melrose’s Center Stage — Creamer didn’t take getting the dream role lightly.
“It’s intense, because it’s such an iconic story,” he said. “You feel a responsibility to uphold it.”
Dancers never know what roles to expect. Every year, Demianiuk and Leonard-Kristan create new routines, essentially a new show.
“I would be bored,” Demianiuk said, “and the kids would be, too, especially those returning. Who wants to do the same dance every year?”
Sticking to the original “Nutcracker” story and Tchaikovsky’s music, the duo tailor the choreography to the talent, creating special roles to fill gaps.
“It keeps dancers challenged and me, too, as a choreographer. This year is a huge growth. Humongous,” Demianiuk said. “We didn’t expect another 50 dancers. It’s a huge cast for five shows.”
Helping them pull it off is a silent but ever-present third cast of volunteers, board members, and parents who spend eight weeks putting 250 kids in costumes, selling nutcrackers and flowers during the shows, and breaking down the set.
Jeff Cerretani of Melrose, the father of two dancers, Bella, 12, and Mia, 9, helps out backstage.
“I really appreciated watching from the audience the first years Bella danced,” he said. “But when you go behind stage, you see how much hard work and dedication is given. The dancers look beautiful, but it’s like a sporting event. You can see the beads of sweat.”
The troupe becomes tight — like family — and many dancers actually are. Laura Osgood, owner and director of Wilmington Dance Academy, sent 30 dancers to the show, including her daughters, Carlene, 10, and Mollie, 9. Olivia Hynes’s sister, Sophia, 12, in her fifth year with “The Nutcracker,” dances as a clown doll and Russian maiden.
The Callahan family of Wakefield holds the record with four daughters who perform this year: Amanda, 17, Kelsey, 16, Sophia, 12, and dancing for her first year, Audrey, 7.
“I’m very nostalgic,” said their mother, Lisa. The mother of five (she also has a son) was due with Audrey during one year’s performance.
“But we kept telling her, ‘Hold on, hold on,’” said Margaret Palmisano, copresident of the M...
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