WAYNESBORO — For the 14th year, Old Dominion Performance Arts Studio will put on “The Nutcracker Ballet.” Rooted in Waynesboro, the nonprofit organization makes the show a holiday tradition.

ODPAS is a Waynesboro nonprofit that offers dance and martial arts education for children two years old up to adulthood.

“We were the first people to do [‘The Nutcracker Ballet’] in Waynesboro; this is our 14th year,” Dulcey Fuqua, ODPAS director, said.

Over the years, the dancing and costumes have progressed. This year, they will have brand new sets, which haven’t been upgraded in about a decade.

The performers are local. The cast ranges from three years old to adults; dancing experience ranges from beginner to experienced. They’ve been practicing for the show since August and planning since at least June.

“One of the things that makes our performance unique is because our studio offers martial arts, our battle scene is actually done by our martial arts program,” Fuqua said. “In other years, everyone has complimented that you can tell the people on stage love what they’re doing. The quality of performing, dancing is beyond what people generally expect. The props because we use the Kate Collins theatre it’s kind of an intimate environment. The audience genially comes out feeling like they’re part of the actual story.”

Jessica Rousseau, of Fishersville, is 13 years old and has been dancing since she was 10. She’s been in “The Nutcracker Ballet” for the past 10 years.

“I love that I can express myself,” she said of dancing. “It’s a getaway for me. It makes me really happy. It prepares me for a career. I would love to pursue dance as a career.”

She thought “The Nutcracker Ballet” would give people a taste of the holidays.

Inge Wray, of Waynesboro, agreed and said the show would get people in the Christmas spirit.

“This is my fourth ‘Nutcracker,’” she said. “I like the warm atmosphere [of ODPAS]. It’s really welcoming. It’s professional training, I’ve really learned a lot.”

The group aims to keep ticket prices affordable to make the show accessible to everyone. Children under 5 are $5 advance, $6 at the door and $7 reserved. Youth/adult tickets are $8 advance, $9 at the door and $12 reserved.

“I encourage people to come to our show and support local,” Fuqua said. “We have grown talent in our program. We have students that are in college programs — they’re working and performing professionally. All of this is homegrown.”

The shows are Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m. and Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. in Kate Collins Middle School’s auditorium. Tickets are available online and at ODPAS. For more information, visit their Facebook page or performods.org.

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