by Elena Novero, Physical Education Teacher – Wing School
Ten years ago, 12 of my third grade girls ran to me needing a fun idea for the talent show. I pulled out a 1974 dance (Ugg a Wugg), and by the time the talent show was over, I realized I had a dance troupe! And so, the Wing Theatre Dance Program began.
The next fall, I started a before-school dance program, one day a week, for 3rd and 4th grade girls. Their families dropped them off one half hour before school started so they could dance and plan a performance together. That holiday season, they danced with the Junior High Band to a medley from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” In the spring the girls also danced for their parents and peers.
By the next fall, the program was two mornings a week – one day for third and fourth grade girls, one day for fifth and sixth grade girls. Again the girls danced with the Junior High Band, this time at the high school performing a section from “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas Medley”. As we were rehearsing for the next Spring Performance, a fifth grade boy approached me and asked if boys could be part of the program. I told him: “If you get me ten boys, I’ll start a boys program in the fall.”
Sure enough, the next fall – not only did he bring me ten boys; he brought twenty! Fourth, fifth and sixth graders! So now the program involved three mornings a week – one for the boys, and two for the girls.
I had the makings of a Nutcracker!!
And from that first 20 minute Nutcracker with about 40 girls and 20 boys and Wing Custodian Troy Jones as the Iron Chef, the Wing School Nutcracker grew to 37 minutes long and included over 150 students in grades three through eight, (over 40 of them being boys), and 20 staff members. Each year new elements are introduced to reflect the special talents of the dancers and of course, the scenery and staging has become more elaborate.
This year’s Nutcracker was especially sweet, being the last at Wing, with again, over 150 “Wing School Family Members” involved – including some alumni and “extended family members”…..and if it all works out, we will be back next year with a name and venue change and added attractions.
(Editor’s note: A little birdie has shared – actually, a little birdie INSISTS that if Mrs. Novero is willing, the Sandwich Elementary Schools Theater Dance Program and the Nutcracker will continue to thrive in 2015!)