Dance Studio No. 1’s “Nutcracker Twist”

Snowflakes dazzle the audience in the technically challenging Snow Scene. Photos: Paul Da Silva.

Classical and contemporary come together for holiday performance.

By Staff Writer

Local, preeminent dance school, Dance Studio No. 1 (DS1), presented their “Nutcracker Twist” at Barnum Hall-Santa Monica High School on December 8 and 9.

The production was conceived of by DS1 artistic director Elizabeth Banke and choreographed by Banke along with Anne Burns and Annalie Cueto Lopez. “The Nutcracker Twist” combined both classical and contemporary elements in order to accommodate Dance Studio No.1’s diverse dance curriculum. The studio specializes in classical ballet, teaching the Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D.) and International Dance Acclaim curriculums while also offering modern, jazz, hip-hop, and acro-dance classes.

The first act of Dance Studio No. 1’s “The Nutcracker Twist” followed a somewhat traditional “Nutcracker” narrative and featured Tchaikovsky’s beloved holiday score. With warmth and enthusiasm, DS1 dancers brought the ballet to life from the charming party scene to the technically impressive snow scene. Kara Smale danced the role of the Snow Queen and brought a calm command over the quick-moving number.

DS1’s twist came during the second act within the “Land of the Sweets.” Adaptions of Tchaikovsky’s music by Duke Ellington and various contemporary artists allowed the students to showcase their ballet technique alongside their modern dance and hip-hop abilities.

The Prince Twist was danced by the talented Bradley Moon who recently won 1st place at Youth American Grand Prix San Diego Regionals. Rather than one Sugar Plum Fairy, four Sugar Rum Fairies–Allison Ogulnick, Inbar Brand, Annemarie Rodgers, and Kara Smale–brought a colorful and jazzy take on the variation. Dancing ornaments, cowboys, and Spanish chocolates also made exciting appearances.

DS1’s “Nutcracker Twist” was produced by SoCal Ballet, a 501 c(3) non-profit organization. SoCal Ballet provides local dance students with the opportunity to perform in semiannual recitals and community outreach events. Dance Studio No.1 is the official dance school of SoCal Ballet.

The talented Bradley Moon dances the principal role of the Nutcracker Prince.

Since its founding in 1992, Dance Studio No. 1 has been successfully training dancers in the west Los Angeles area who have gone on to professional training programs like Ballet West, summer intensives such as San Francisco Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet, and prestigious universities like Purchase, Columbia, UCLA, and Princeton.

Dance Studio No. 1 offers a variety of small-sized classes to students ages 3 through 18 to ensure individual attention and through dance training. The studio’s curriculum includes the Young Children Program, Foundation Syllabus Program, Pre-Professional, and Recreational Program.

From the beloved Young Children’s Program up through the advanced ballet classes, DS1 fosters an enduring love of dance in all its students within a supportive environment and engaged community.

Dance Studio No. 1 invites new students with or without training to join their studio in the New Year. Find out more about registration and class offerings on their website,