The Original Nutcracker

Chestnuts are roasting on the sun-warmed sidewalk, and tiny tots are in their strollers crying like hell. It’s Christmastime in Miami, and even though the weather isn’t quite wintry, the usual holiday detectors are still at play. Sure, Walgreens has been celebrating since 11:59 Halloween night, but it ain’t Xmas till you’ve seen The Nutcracker. This fairy-tale ballet has been around since the late 1800s, and all of its dancing candy canes and flirtatious wooden tools have enraptured audiences worldwide. You deserve a piece. Airfare might hinder you from catching the Kennedy Center’s legendary version, so this Saturday, watch Miami’s oldest ballet school, the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, put its spin on the standard. Clara will undoubtedly dazzle, and the Sugar Plum Fairy’s sweetness will usher you into a season when gift buying can leave your wallet feeling a little sour. The show begins at 7 p.m. at Miami-Dade County Auditorium. Tickets cost $10 to $25.
Sat., Dec. 5, 7 p.m., 2009
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The conservatory's loyalties are not to the community at large, but to those with the deepest pockets. Sadly, the instruction is held back because of the schools motto "It takes 10,000 hours to get good at something". I believe that every child has different abilities and does not learn at the same pace. The children that have potential are held back unless they are able to pay for private instruction. Special parts or roles in their annual show are given, by and large, to the highest bidder. Non-Profit entities (as is Thomas Armour), by definition, exist to enrich the lives of those less fortunate. Thomas Armour Youth Ballet has drifted from its mission and now runs the risk of losing its vision to those in charge that believe they are above all reproach.

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