Dot dancers-in-training take to Strand stage for ‘The Nutcracker’

The Strand Theatre will host the final weekend of performances of Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre Company’s “The Nutcracker” at Dorchester’s Strand Theatre, beginning with a Friday evening show at 7:30 p.m. Other showtimes include Sat., Dec. 22 at 2 and 7p.m.; and Sun., Dec. 23 at 1:30 and 5 p.m. Tickets start at $25. For more ticket information, visit ballettheatre.org. Photo by Gary Sloan

Several members from the JMBT’s Dorchester Studio, including Leah Vasquez-Watt, Lilyrose Lubangi, America Belle Cross, Arianna Shepherd, Ava Dennis , Claudia Hernandez, and Leiya Silveira, are featured inthe 31st annual performance of José Mateo Ballet Theater’s “The Nutcracker,” which opened last weekend at the Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner and will run through Sun., Dec. 23.

All students who participate in the production perform in at least 7 of the 21 performances.

Ava Dennis, a 12-year-old member of the Dorchester Studio, is participating for the third year, this season as a cherub. Her mother, Vivian Dennis, reported that her daughter fell in love with the JMBT community somefour years ago when she was told about it by one of her friends.

“The community at Jose Mateo, the parents the atmosphere, just are so welcoming and warm,” Vivian Dennis said. “It just seemed like a family.”
Parent and daughter stayed with the studio because of that atmosphere, and over time it became a bigger and bigger part of Ava’s daily life. She takes particular pride in her yearly Nutcracker dances, speculatingduring the year with her mother over which part she might be given.

“It’s just something that she looks forward to,” her mother said. “The anticipation of what role she is going to get in the Nutcracker is just so exciting for her, for both of us.”

“I think it’s nice to have something that is different come into the community and give girls of color the idea that they can do anything,” Dennis said.
Dates and times for the shows are:Fri., Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 22, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec 23, 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Call 617-3545-7467 with questions.

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