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Audience is enchanted with 'The Nutcracker' ballet

By: Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer/Photographer

On Friday, December 13 the East Tennessee Youth Ballet performed The Nutcracker for local school children at Heritage Hall. They ended their day with a stunning evening performance that was well attended and flawlessly performed.

The East Tennessee Youth Ballet is the performing company of the East Tennessee Ballet Academy. The academy is located in Elizabethton, however the Youth Ballet travels throughout the Tri-Cities area performing for audiences of all ages. The academy is under the direction of Cynthia Bernshausen who has worked for various ballets throughout the United States and boasts an impressive resume. The Youth Ballet is by audition only and it’s clear through the artistry and technique displayed on the stage that these talented kids live, eat, and breathe ballet. With amazing focus and captivating elegance, the East Tennessee Youth Ballet pliéd their way into the hearts of the Heritage Hall audience.

The Nutcracker is a beloved holiday classic and for some, their only experience with ballet. Written in the late 1800’s by Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker speaks deeply to audiences though the characters never utter a word. The Nutcracker takes audiences through the depths of a child’s imagination and with it brings color, fantasy, and movement. As you leave the theater, you may catch yourself walking just a bit lighter on your feet and pointing your toes as you take each step. Ballet is nothing if not inspiring.

The Wednesday Music Club sponsored the Heritage Hall performances of the East Tennessee Youth Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker. Led by Mary Ann Worley, the Wednesday Music Club has long been a supporter of the arts in Johnson County and Heritage Hall.

Heritage Hall never fails to provide the community with superb entertainment. Offering low ticket prices as well as some free events, the venue offers a bit of something for everyone with an affordability that many appreciate. Heritage Hall Theater, the brain child of former Johnson County High School teacher Evelyn Cook, opened its doors in 2005 and has since become one of the most respected and cherished features in Johnson County. The volunteer based board for Heritage Hall meets monthly. The members are passionate about the success of the hall and are always looking for new and exciting entertainment to bring to the community.
Coming to Heritage Hall in February is Barter Players’ Little House on the Prairie and in March an event you won’t want to miss. The Johnson County High School Players will team up with the Johnson County Young Artists in what’s sure to be an unforgettable performance of The Wizard of Oz. If you’d like to learn more about the East Tennessee Ballet Academy or attend one of their upcoming performances, please visit their website at