POCATELLO — Alliance Academy of Dance is holding auditions for the 15th Annual "The Nutcracker" production for all area students ages 6 and up on Saturday.
The auditions will take place at 200 E. Pine St. at the Alliance Academy of Dance's studios from 11:15 a.m. to noon for ages 6 to 8, noon to 1 p.m. for ages 9 to 12, and 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. for ages 13 and older. Audition fees are $10 per person.
"The Nutcracker," which is directed by ballet masters and husband-and-wife team Sergiu Brindusa and Beth Moore, will be performed at Idaho State University's Frazier Hall on Dec. 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. and on Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., with tickets going on sale in October at tututix.com.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for kids to come and try to be part of something special,” said Moore.
“The Nutcracker is by all accounts one of the biggest and most go-to events of the season,” Brindusa added. “It’s great for kids, it’s great for families and fantastic for the community.”
Brindusa and Moore, who were both professional dancers at the Orlando Ballet before moving to Pocatello in 2005, have brought Tchaikovsky’s "The Nutcracker" production to the Pocatello area for the past 15 years, 11 of which they performed in as the lead roles of Clara and the Nutcracker King before slinging up their ballet slippers in 2015.
“Even though we’re not dancing, I still hear compliments that 'The Nutcracker' is better every year,” Moore said. “And I think that is a huge compliment to us because I do think that our students are better every year. And it’s not just one or two that are good. We have many out there that are beautiful to watch. And I think that the community… should see the local talent here, because it is quite amazing.”
In 2016, they merged their Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy with Pocatello's Dana Smith Dance Studio and gave the newly formed dance school a new name — Alliance Academy of Dance. Alliance opened its studios at 200 E. Pine St., which had previously been the location of the Pine Bowl bowling alley.
Alliance has 22,000 square feet of space, including six large dancing rooms and a dressing room for its now 350 students, many of whom train in the competitive ballet program.
The merger that created Alliance Academy of Dance combined Brindusa-Moore’s ballet focus with Dana Smith Dance Studio’s contemporary and jazz classes, which Moore explained as beneficial for the students as it provides them versatility and the opportunity to practice many forms of dance.
“We wanted to reach out to as many students as possible that would like to pursue different track programs,” Moore said. “And that is what we could not offer as Brindusa-Moore. We were predominately ballet. Whitney Morden, our partner (with Dana Smith Dance Studio), does competitive jazz, and when we came together we were able to offer an avenue for the dancer to pursue both. And in today’s dance world, you have to be able to do it all.”
Moore described the studio as one that has a wide range between recreational dancing and competitive dancing.
“It’s a studio where if you are a child that just wants to take a class once a week, we have that, all the way up to students who get out of school early to train during the day,” she said. “So there’s huge variety, but that just goes to show what we have to offer.”
Brindusa explained that it is crucial for professional dancers to be well-rounded in all forms of dance, especially as competition has only increased over the years.
“There’s no reason why you can’t have a broader knowledge on everything else,” he said. “A hip-hop artist should know ballet too, at least to a certain level. And if we start this process now with the kids, they’re going to have this type of emphasis, they’re going to want to be that kind of educated walking individual in this world. So wherever they go, they will be held and regarded in that top tier.”
In addition to "The Nutcracker," Alliance also holds a full-length spring production from the classical ballet repertoire every year, which will include a production of "Swan Lake" in May 2020. According to Moore, the studio is often very busy this time of year as they bring in top choreographers from all over the country to help train competitive students. These students attend national conventions and have been placing since the studio has merged, Moore said.
“They are getting great feedback from all these judges from these conventions and competitions (who say), ‘I love how much ballet you know,'” Brindusa said. “And if you’re a competitive dancer for contemporary and jazz, there could be no better compliment to those kids.”
Overall, Brindusa and Moore say the merger with Dana Smith Dance Studio has been a great success and their goal as Alliance is to provide something for everyone but at a high level and continue on that path.
“I’m very proud of what we have been able to accomplish and I can only imagine what this will be in the next five years from now,” Brindusa said.
For more information on "The Nutcracker" auditions, call 208-232-3686 or visit www.allianceacademyofdance.com.