Cherry Hill dancers talk about their upcoming performance

Three Cherry Hill dancers, Brie Leftwich, Brynn Fletcher and Joyce Wu, will be featured in the South Jersey Ballet Theatre’s 26th anniversary production of “The Nutcracker.”

Three Cherry Hill dancers, Brie Leftwich, Brynn Fletcher and Joyce Wu, will be featured in the South Jersey Ballet Theatre’s 26th anniversary production of “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 15, 16 and 17 at the Voorhees Middle School Theater.

“The Nutcracker” centers around the love story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince who takes her on a journey to the Kingdom of the Sugarplum fairy. The audience should anticipate a magical evening where dancers are able to express their creativity through movement. Despite the magical setting of the performance, the ladies have been working hard behind the scenes to make sure the performance is flawless.

“The rehearsals are very challenging because they are very long hours. It’s a lot of commitment but it’s so much fun because we are with all of our friends and we are doing something we love so much,” said Fletcher, who plays the Soldier Doll and other characters.

“It’s really fun but It’s also really hard sometimes with all of the hours and all the practice we have to do,” added Wu, who plays the Kissy Doll and various other characters.

The team practices for five and a half hours every Saturday, and the girls admit it isn’t always easy to balance school and dance, but they make it work.

“I think I have gotten better time management skills, having to balance everything,” Wu said.

The performance is something the girls are excited to participate in, and although the rehearsals may be rigorous, the outcome is worth it.

“Getting to go onstage every night and the joy I feel getting to dance such an iconic show and also the joy I feel getting to see everyone in the audience watching us do this is such a fun feeling,” Fletcher said.

Dancing plays a large part in each of the girl’s lives, and they take pride in their work.

“It (dancing) is a very large commitment. … Just knowing I was able to make it this far means a lot,” said Leftwich, who plays Marzipan and Candy Cane lead.

The performance is also expected to leave the audience captivated by the wintery scenes and beautifully orchestrated dances aimed to leave the audience in the Christmas spirit.

“Being in it, I think there’s definitely a lot of really cool dances. My favorite scene is the snow scene, and so getting to see the snow fall for the first time was a really cool experience,” Fletcher said.

“They do so much hard work, so it is great that they get some recognition … “The Nutcracker” has been an ongoing event, they love it,” Artistic Director Andrea Duffin Conway said.

“The Nutcracker” will debut Friday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m., with additional performances Saturday, Dec.16, at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2:30 p.m. Girl Scouts and other student groups will have an opportunity to meet the company after the Friday and Saturday 4:30 p.m. shows at a special ticket rate of $19 per ticket for groups of eight and up.

All performances will take place at Voorhees Middle School on Holly Oak Drive in Voorhees. Ticket prices are $22 for adults and $18 for children and seniors. Tickets will be available at the theater box office or visit www.southjerseyballet.com for more information.