On Nov. 29, two costumed dancers from The Richmond Ballet’s "The Nutcracker" made a special visit to St. Mary’s Home in Norfolk. Characters Harlequin and Columbine entertained the youth and adult residents, families and friends of St. Mary’s Home with ballet demonstrations, a meet-and-greet and a special reading by former company dancer, Valerie Tellmann-Henning.
The residents of St. Mary’s Home, a private, nonprofit long-term care facility for those with severe to profound intellectual and physical disabilities, enjoyed music, dancing and craft making with The Richmond Ballet dancers. The Ballet showcased a variety of props including pointe shoes, tutus and the iconic marley floor. Former dancer and current Public Relations and Contact Manager, Valerie Tellmann-Henning, also entertained residents with the reading of her book "Richmond Ballet The Nutcracker, As told by the Sugar Plum Fairy."
St. Mary’s has welcomed hosts for special guests, including the Norfolk Admirals and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, but this year marks the first visit from the state ballet. “[We] really appreciate the Richmond Ballet taking the time to visit our kids and teaching our kids something [many] of them may have never seen before,” says Sonja Barisic, director of marketing communications for St. Mary’s Home. “This is really a wonderful thing the ballet is doing for us. We are absolutely thrilled.”
The Ballet’s mission is to awaken and uplift the human spirit through dance. Brett Bonda, The Ballet’s managing director, notes that community outreach is one way they are able to achieve this mission. “We want to offer [anyone] from youth to adults the opportunity to learn more about the dance world,” says Bonda. “Outreach is as important as anything else we do, so to go to St. Mary’s, especially where most of their residents are not able to leave easily and go to a production, we’re glad to bring it to them.”
On Dec. 1, The Richmond Ballet returns to Chrysler Hall for their fifth, weekend-long tour of "The Nutcracker" in Norfolk. This year’s show features music from the Virginia Symphony Orchestra as well as includes 90 students from the Coastal Virginia and Outer Banks communities to perform on stage with the professional company.
Four performances of the "The Nutcracker" will take place beginning on Friday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. Reserve your seats online through Ticketmaster or purchase them at the Scope Arena box office located at 201 E. Brambleton Ave., Norfolk.