Westfield and Cranford Girls Dance Leads in Nutcracker
Performances will be held during the weekend of Dec. 15 and 16.
Marissa Millwater of Westfield and Shannon Touhey of Cranford will join world-renowned dancers when they appear in the lead soloist roles of “Clara” and “Fritz” in this year’s full-length production of New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble’s much loved “The Nutcracker.”
Internationally acclaimed dancers Jessica Batten, Milan Misko, Rosemary Sabovick-Bleich, Joseph Fritz, Reed Luplau, Jason Jordan, and Steffi Cheong, from such acclaimed dance companies as Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Jessica Lang Dance, NJ Ballet, Lar Lubovitch, Buglisi Dance Theatre, and DanceWorks Chicago will join the Ensemble for three performances at the Wilkins Theatre @ Kean University, 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ on Saturday, December 15 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, December 16 at 2 p.m.
Marissa, 12, is the daughter of Laura and Richie Millwater. She is a student at Edison Intermediate School. She has been dancing with New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble since 2010 and has previously appeared in the roles of Bon Bon and Soldier. Shannon is the daughter of Raeann and Dan Touhey. She attends Hillside Avenue School, has been dancing with the Ensemble since 2009, and has previously appeared in the roles of Little Mouse, BonBon and Soldier.
Marissa and Shannon have been dancing together for the last five years at The Yvette Dance Studio in Cranford. For the last three of those years they have been training with Lisa Rumbauskas, who was herself Clara in the NJDTE Nutcracker when she was their age. Lisa, along with her husband Nathaniel Shaw, will appear as guest artists in this year’s Nutcracker, dancing the roles of Parent, Dr. Drosselmeyer, and Mother Gigone.
New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble is known throughout New Jersey and the New York metro region as one of the premier pre-professional ballet and modern dance companies. Its high-caliber training in ballet, contemporary and modern dance, as taught by some of the dance world’s most notable dancers, teachers and choreographers, includes guest faculty from such prominent dancecompanies as The Paris Opera Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Nacho Duato & Compania Nacional de Danza, Jose LimonCompany, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Bat Sheva Dance Company, Martha Graham Dance Company, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Twyla Tharp, Parsons Dance, Mark Morris Dance Group, and The Ailey School/Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, among others. This 42nd annual production of “The Nutcracker,” set to the classic music of Peter Tchaikovsky, is choreographed by the Ensemble’s Artistic Director, Nancy Turano, and features dancers aged 7 through 19.
Marissa and Shannon will be joined in this production by other Westfield/Cranford dancers including Julia Connolly, Alexandra and Samantha Dalli, Charlotte Geary, Victoria Herlocker, Claudia Millwater, Victoria Pardo, Anne Politano, MaryBeth Rodgers, Abigail Sassi, and Theordora Yoon.