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'Nutcracker' brought to life at skating center

December 05, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

HALFWAY - It's a classic tale with a twist - and a sit spin.

The traditional story of the "Nutcracker" tells of young girl named Clara who receives a nutcracker for Christmas from her uncle. She dreams of the toy coming to life to battle armies of mice and traveling to faraway lands inhabited by dancing snowflakes and other fantasies.

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The holiday ballet came to life Sunday as members of the Antietam and Bel Air skate clubs performed the tale on four-wheeled rollerskates at the Family Skating Center on Virginia Avenue.

Around 35 rollerskaters of all skill levels and ages ranging from first grade to adults took part in the production, which is based on the story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," by E.T.A. Hoffman.

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The Antietam Skate Club has performed the ballet for the past six years, according to David Orgler, 45, club president.

"Everyone worked very hard to put it all together," said Orgler, of Frederick, Md.

The members of the skating clubs built a simple set consisting of a living room scene with an overstuffed chair, Christmas tree with presents and fireplace which was placed in middle of the rink to the rear.

Costumes made by the skaters were used to evoke images of a party, battle, sugar plum fairies and other imaginary characters.

Taking part in the production and in the sport is an enjoyable way to stay active and spend time with his family, said Orgler.

Orgler, his wife and three of his children performed Sunday evening.

For the second year in a row, his son Patrick, 10, took on the title role. Ruthie Mullendore, 7, of Keedysville, was Clara.

Patrick wasn't nervous prior to the performance because of his long hours of preparation, he said.

"I'm ready. I think it's fun to do jumps," said Patrick, who received skating awards during southeastern regional championships in 1998 and 1999.

His favorite scene, he said is one in which he dons the garb of a Russian cossack and must crouch low to do kicks.

The ballet was performed in two 30-minute acts which were choreographed and musically arranged by various members of the clubs, Orgler said. A crowd of about 100 people watched as the skaters made the roles their own.

Skaters in the Nutcracker practiced for hours to gain the skill, stamina and grace to make each performance perfect, he said.

"It's not as easy as it looks," said Orgler.

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