DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. ‒ Springhurst Elementary School first-graders got up on their toes and performed the "Nutcracker Ballet" Monday with a little help from professional dancers Cierra Cotton and Andrei Kisselev of Ballet Ambassadors.
"The Ambassadors dancers are here for the second year and they do a wonderful job working with the children all day before performing," Springhurst Principal Julia Drake said. "Children get to experience the music, ballet and performing with professional dancers."
Kisselev and Cotton worked with the students in morning classes that culminated in a one-hour afternoon performance of the beloved Tchaikovsky ballet.
The children performed the familiar “Waltz of the Flowers,” “Cossack” and other dances from the Christmas favorite. First-grade teacher Joan Burmester helped coordinate the event.
Kisselev, a native of Russia who performed for several years with the legendary Moiseyev Dance Company, is a professor of ballet at Manhattanville College. Cotton is a 2011 graduate of the Ailey/Fordham BFA dance program.
"Working with the children all day and then performing later in the day can be hard work, but it is a wonderful thing for the children to do," said Kisselev, who is doing 12 school performances this holiday season. "These children took instruction very well, and dance is a good way to excercise and express themselves.
Cotton, a free lance dancer who is pairing with Kisselev for five school ballets, said she hoped the children earned an appreciation for dance.
"We incorporate the dance movements and work to lead the children through the dance sequences," Cotton said. "You never know what the results are going to be because we work through the day and perform the same day. The kids here really did well."
Learn more about Ballet Ambassadors on the company’s website.