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If you go
What: Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s “Nuts and Crackers”
When: 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: South Side High School auditorium, 3601 S. Calhoun St.
Admission: Tickets are $13 for adults and $11 for children 12 and under and are available by phone at 422-4226 or online at
Rag dolls strike a pose during rehearsal for “Nuts and Crackers,” the Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s 12th annual holiday performance.

Dancers serve holiday treat

Photos by Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
The show includes 135 performers, some of whom helped choreograph the dances.

It’s not unusual to see grinches, elves, rag dolls and even snow queens during the holiday season. But to see them dancing on stage, well, that’s a treat that can only be found at the Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s “Nuts and Crackers,” happening Sunday.

The program includes dance students ages 3 to adult taking the stage to perform modern dance, ballet, contemporary and hip-hop routines. All together there will be 135 performers taking the stage, says artistic director Liz Monnier.

But don’t call it a recital, Monnier says; “We don’t use the word ‘recital.’ It’s a concert.”

This is the 12th year for the popular holiday show, which started in 2000 as part of the Embassy Theatre’s “Festival of Trees.” This will be the second year the show is held at South Side High School on Calhoun Street.

Monnier says there are several new ideas this year for the dances, which are holiday- and winter-themed. The hip-hop class will perform “Night at the Mall,” which involves a security guard at the mall and the mannequins coming to life.

Another idea came from a 5-year-old who wanted to be Santa’s treat, Monnier says. The young dancers will be dressed as chocolate bars and other treats and running away from Santa so they won’t be eaten.

The performers have been working on the dances since October. And they are involved in a lot of hands-on preparation for the show, too. Some of the students have helped choreograph the dances, and parents have lent their creative skills, Monnier says.

“Lots of moms and dads help make the costumes,” she says.

Monnier says she enjoys the show because it’s not competitive or stressful for the younger dancers. “It’s just a lot of fun,” she says.

But dancing isn’t the only thing happening at this year’s show. Expect to hear haiku poetry, taiko drumming and, of course, enjoy some nuts and crackers during intermission.