A FOUR-YEAR HIATUS of theater or musical production almost always means the end of it. People grow up, move on, or do not wish to revive what was put on hold. It takes dedication, devotion, and determination to bring such back into the spotlight and to bring it back with success. Melvie Myrick has that devotion for such. Through her dedication, along with that of her staff, dancers, and the community, they were able to bring back the well-known ballet production, “The Nutcracker.”
Myrick, the owner of Backstage Performing Arts (BPA), presented the seventh production of ‘The Nutcracker of Lincoln County’ during the 2022 holiday season. The show has been on hiatus for four years due to COVID. Myrick brought the production to the local community in 2010, and she understands the importance of keeping such a production alive.
“I wanted to bring ‘The Nutcracker’ to Lincoln County,” she said. “I had helped with a production in Georgia and enjoyed my time there. I wanted to bring that experience here because I found that the kids in the dance classes didn’t know what “The Nutcracker” was and had never seen it. After the first few productions, we noticed just how much the children enjoyed it and how much they grew in each performance. We did it for three years in a row, and then I decided to do it every other year because it’s a huge undertaking.”
After the 2018 production, Myrick and her crew began preparing for the 2020 production, which came to a halt when the pandemic hit. When deciding to return in 2022, Myrick said it was as if she was starting from scratch.
“It was almost like starting over,” she explained. “All the dancers who participated every other year would move into the next character, so they grew up with it. They would start with the younger characters, like little angels or Arabians, and then grow into the next older character. They would progress through the levels and were able to do each character. When we started back, everyone was moving into new roles, which gave us a chance to revive our choreography. We made it all fresh with new dances, choreography, and backdrops. It was a blessing because we could refresh it and bring a brand-new life.”
This year’s show featured 100 BPA dancers and special guest dancers from the Alabama Youth Ballet. It featured new choreography from Myrick, John Bozeman, and Jordan Allen. Myrick said the community also stepped in to help and give back to the production.
“We had to create new backdrops this year,” she said. “Jennie Roles-Walters, with the art department at the high school, helped us with that. Several high school students came in one Sunday afternoon and built the props. They hammered, nailed, and put together everything for the backdrop. It’s gratifying and touches my heart. This is why I do it — to see everybody coming together.”
The production also saw record attendance numbers in their newest performance spot at Lincoln Central Academy (LCA), where both shows were almost sold out.
BPA’s next performance will be their 33rd Annual Dance Recital, “A Night at the Museum,” on May 13 at LCA. For more information, visit online at backstageperformingarts.com. GN