Youth ballet performance takes center stage

BUCKHANNON – More than 50 youth with the Augusta Youth Ballet Company and The Dance Factory will twirl onto stage to perform the holiday classic “The Nutcracker” this weekend at West Virginia Wesleyan College’s Virginia Thomas Law Center.

Presented by the AYBC, performances will be at 7:30 p.m. today, with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday.

“The Nutcracker” is a holiday story about a young girl who is given a magical nutcracker doll as a gift on Christmas Eve. Choreographer and Artistic Director Nina Scattaregia said performers have been rehearsing since mid-September.

“I think it’s going to culminate with the kids being able to show what they’ve worked for over the last three and a half months,” Scattaregia said.

Dancers from Randolph, Barbour and Upshur counties will participate in the performance alongside professional dancer and choreographer Donald Laney, the assistant director of the West Virginia Dance Company. He is a former adjunct dance professor at Wesleyan and a former modern dance instructor for the West Virginia Governor’s School of the Arts.

Greg Mach, a professor of theater at Wesleyan, will perform the role of Herr Drosselmeyer. Also participating in the show are Radford University dance majors and AYCB alumni, Amy Livesay of Buckhannon and Caleb Waybright of Elkins. Livesay will play the Sugar Plum Fairy and Waybright will play the role of the Cavalier.

The AYBC has 35 dancers from ages 9-17 in three divisions: the Prima/Senior group, the Allegro/Junior group and La Petites. Another 30 dancers from The Dance Factory will perform roles as angels.

Scattaregia said the performance will have many of the markings of a professional performance with Tonry Lanthroum, a professional lighting designer, providing the lighting and design for the performance.

“That’s really the main mission of our company, to give the kids a real outlet to learn about the performing arts,” Scattaregia said, adding that the young dancers are given the opportunity to perform a “real ballet in a real theater” through this performance.

“We’re pretty excited,” she added. “It’s going to be really nicely done.”

Two Elkins High School students with lead roles will share a dance performance with Laney on stage. They are senior Olivia Seibert, dancing the part of the Snow Queen, and junior Lauren Mahoney, dancing the part of the Arabian.

A limited number of tickets are still available for shows tonight, today and Sunday. Adult tickets are $9 and children can watch for $5. Advanced tickets may be purchased at The Dance Factory located at 107 East Main St. in Buckhannon. If tickets are still available at the time of each showing, they may still be purchased at the door.

For more information about the performances or tickets, call The Dance Factory at 304-472-8291.

Contact Melissa Toothman by email at