Port Townsend Ballet teacher Krystal Kennedy shows student Soleil Robinson, 6, her toe shoes after class Tuesday afternoon. In the PTB’s “The Nutcracker” next week, Kennedy will dance the roles of the Snow Queen and Dew Drop Fairy. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Townsend Ballet teacher Krystal Kennedy shows student Soleil Robinson, 6, her toe shoes after class Tuesday afternoon. In the PTB’s “The Nutcracker” next week, Kennedy will dance the roles of the Snow Queen and Dew Drop Fairy. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

‘The Nutcracker,’ winter classes in store

Performances at Wheeler Theater set in December

PORT TOWNSEND — What kind of music do you feel like today? We could do Christmas, we could do Disney, we could do music from different ballets, Krystal Kennedy asked her young students.

Music from different ballets won out, and to the barre she went for Tuesday morning class at Port Townsend Ballet.

Kennedy teaches sessions for youngsters and for adults at the nonprofit studio, a light-filled space that opened in August 2019 at 898 E. Park Ave.

“There’s a lot going on at once,” said artistic director Jennifer Hardesty.

She means both professional and personal: Dec. 3-5, the studio’s production of “The Nutcracker” will take the stage of the Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden State Park.

Oh, and she’s expecting a baby on Jan. 1. So Hardesty’s seven faculty members are stepping up, teaching a variety of classes, looking ahead to a new season in the new year and, like ballet schools the world over, preparing for “Nutcracker.”

Performances — of a shortened version of Tchaikovsky’s classic — are set for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3 and 1 p.m. Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 at the Wheeler, 25 Eisenhower Ave.

The venue will be kept to 50 percent capacity to allow patrons to spread out, Hardesty noted.

Tickets are $20 via Porttownsendballet.com, while information is available by phoning 530-521-1006.

A donation-based dress rehearsal is also open to the public at 5 p.m. Dec. 2, Hardesty said.

This “Nutcracker” has a cast of 31, with performers age 7 to adult; Kennedy herself will dance the roles of the Snow Queen and the Dew Drop Fairy while Tomoki Sage of Port Townsend, a multifaceted performer, will appear as the Sugar Plum Cavalier.

Argus McEnerney, 9, has the role of the Nutcracker Prince.

On Tuesday, Soleil Robinson, 6, took class with Kennedy, moving through her barre exercises and then turning and spotting her way across the floor. She’s not in this year’s “Nutcracker,” but her mother, Hope Robinson, is; she portrays Mrs. Stahlbaum, aka Clara’s mom.

In addition to ballet for various levels, the studio offers modern and contemporary, beginning and intermediate jazz, dance conditioning and flexibility classes seven days a week.

For the adult ballet session, “you’re never too old to start,” Kennedy said.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Port Townsend Ballet accepts donations and welcomes volunteers; its website and email, [email protected], provide additional details.

Hardesty had to close her place for much of 2020. Since reopening, the student body has fluctuated, she said, as dancers and their families adjust to pandemic protocols. Now, 20 classes are set to start during the week of Jan. 3 and continue through April.

“I love my teachers so much,” Hardesty said. “They are amazing. They have such enthusiasm for teaching, and a strong desire to keep the arts going,” throughout this year.

A physical therapist as well as a dance teacher, Hardesty grew up in Paradise, Calif., and attended the Walnut Hill School of the Arts, now Boston Ballet School, a boarding school for ballet dancers and other aspiring artists in Natick, Mass.

“The Nutcracker,” Hardesty added, has been a part of her life for at least 10 seasons.

This year is unlike the rest: It’s her first time directing the ballet. Yet she deflected the limelight.

“Everyone’s been working so hard,” she said.

________

Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

Port Townsend Ballet teacher Krystal Kennedy works with Soleil Robinson, 6, of Port Hadlock, in a Tuesday class at the nonprofit studio. Kennedy will dance the roles of the Snow Queen and Dew Drop Fairy in next week’s production of “The Nutcracker” at the Wheeler Theater. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Townsend Ballet teacher Krystal Kennedy works with Soleil Robinson, 6, of Port Hadlock, in a Tuesday class at the nonprofit studio. Kennedy will dance the roles of the Snow Queen and Dew Drop Fairy in next week’s production of “The Nutcracker” at the Wheeler Theater. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

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