Dance

Lenny Bruno Farms invites families to kickstart the farm’s season at the 2024 Country Kick-off event! Taking place on May 18 and May 19, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., this weekend event promises an array of modern and classic country music, line dancing, delicious food, hayrides, activities for kids, teens, and adults.

Admission to the event is $10 per person, granting access to a variety of entertainment and attractions, including live country music performances, a 5 oz. beer tasting, vendor booths, a toddler play area, a meet and greet with farm animals, oversized garden games, unique photo opportunities, and more! Children aged 2 and under enter free of charge.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to indulge in culinary delights from food trucks, explore offerings from artisan vendors, enjoy face painting, partake in various children and teen activity vendors, pony rides, adult activities, such as axe throwing, and embark on hayrides around the farm. Fresh fruits, vegetables, pies, ice cream, and other treats will also be available for purchase from the farm.

The Country Kick-off event marks the beginning of Lenny Bruno Farms’ season, and the first attendees will receive a special seedling packet (while supplies last) with instructions on planting seeds at home. Visitors are encouraged to come to the farm to witness the commencement of operations, discover seed planting techniques, and gain insights into the growth process.

The festivities will be enhanced by live country music performances by The Town and Country Band, line dancing sessions by Dancing with Deanna, and more!

Lenny Bruno Farms is located at 740 Wading River Road, Manorville. For more information, visit www.lennybrunofarms.com/events.

 

By Julianne Mosher

The Engeman Theater’s latest production of Jersey Boys will have you singing, dancing and laughing all night long. Based on the life and music of The Four Seasons and Frankie Valli, the show is set in 1960s New Jersey as we follow the four Italian boys through the successes and struggles of reaching, and fulfilling, fame. 

Written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the show is presented almost like a documentary (as it’s based on a true story) with each member giving their perspectives of the band’s history. We start off with Tommy DeVito (Nick Bernardi) and his original group, The Variety Trio, which included his brother, Nick DeVito (Justin Wolfe Smith) and his close friend, Nick Massi (Stephen Cerf). The three perform in clubs, while also participating in some questionable and illegal activity. 

There, they meet a young kind who sits in the shadows of the club and sings along. Frankie Valli (Joey Lavarco) and Tommy brings him up on stage. With his high soprano voice and large range, Lavarco can easily be mistaken for the original Frankie Valli — an impressive talent that not everyone on that stage could do. 

While Frankie starts to enjoy singing with the trio, the trio each get thrown in the slammer until Tommy is eventually freed where he joins with Frankie again to continue working on music and finding their identity as a new group (Tommy’s brother quits).

While this is all happening, we see the love story between Frankie and his girlfriend-then-wife Francine (Katelyn Harold) and the relationship that Tommy has with a mobster friend, Gyp DeCarlo (Mike Keller). While in supporting roles (the two play other parts sporadically throughout the show) the fluidity of their change in character is astonishing. To go from a mobster, to an accountant, to a music industry executive in one act is a grand feat. 

Eventually, a young Joe Pesci — yes, the actor — played by Loren Stone, introduces Frankie, Tommy and Nick Massi to a young songwriter who was known for his hit single, “Short Shorts,” named Bob Gaudino (Sean McGee). The trio found their missing piece, and although they couldn’t figure out a name, they were great at writing songs together. 

But they visit every record company in the city and finally land a deal with the flamboyantly hysterical Bob Crewe (Jonathan Cobrda) who signs them as background singers for other artists. Eventually, they get a sign from above (literally, a sign), that determines their new, and last, name. The Four Seasons and they pitch new music to Crewe who hears hits which then get the four Jersey Boys on the map.

With favorites like, “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” and “Walk Like a Man,” if someone in the audience closed their eyes, they’d truly think they’re listening to the actual Four Seasons on the radio. Bernardi, Cerf, Lavarco and McGee’s harmonies synch together well and they look the part with beautifully, and historically accurate, curated costumes by Dustin Cross. 

From then on, the second act shows more of the struggles the four experiences as their fame and fortune get bigger. Through a lot of comedy, and some somber moments, the show will definitely keep you on your toes and singing the whole drive home. 

Directed by Paul Stancato, the set was minimal, but the perfect setting for so many different locations. A simple backdrop of warehouse doors and two spiral staircases, the ensemble perfects going from Jersey, to Manhattan, to on the road, to an apartment, to a club all with ease. 

So, what are you waiting for? The Engeman’s production is a slice of Broadway placed in Northport and it’ll have you thinking, “Oh, What a Night.”

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport presents Jersey Boys through May 26. For tickets or more information, call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

A scene from a previous production of ‘The Nutcracker.’ Photo from Dimitri Papadakos

The Seiskaya Ballet’s Nutcracker, a perennial holiday favorite on Long Island, returns to Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts Main Stage, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook for a five-performance run from Dec. 15 to 17. This classical ballet rendition has earned praise from critics and audiences alike. 

Seiskaya Ballet principal dancer Madeleine Martufi

The cast will be led by guest artist David Wright, dancing the dual roles of Cavalier/Nutcracker, a featured artist with the Dance Theater of Harlem. Seiskaya Ballet’s award winning principal dancers Vivian Ye, Madeleine Martufi, Nina Zhang and Kaede Urso plus returning principal dancers Brianna Jimenez, Eva Pyrros, Diana Atoian and Lara Caraiani.

Seiskaya Ballet’s Nutcracker is truly an international collaboration beginning with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s most famous score.  Sets and several costumes were designed by Poland’s Margaret Piotrowska whose highly respected work in Polish television and stage productions has garnered wide praise. Directed by founder Joseph Forbes, scenery was executed by Scenic Art Studios which has been credited with painting over 300 Broadway shows.  The imaginative and unusual sculptures utilized in the Seiskaya Ballet’s production were the brainchild of creative artist Matt Targon. Choreographed by celebrated Russian-born Valia Seiskaya, this acclaimed production is imbued with bravura dancing, energy and endearing charisma.

Performances will be held on Friday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets are $45 for adults, $38 children and seniors. To order, call 631-632-ARTS (2787) or visit www.nutcrackerballet.com.

Erica Pereira will star as the Sugarplum Fairy in George Balanchine’s 'The Nutcracker.'

New York Dance Theatre will present its 41st season of “The Nutcracker” at Hofstra University in Hempstead on Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17 with performances each day at noon and 5 p.m.  

Local young dancers will share the stage with New York City Ballet stars Erica Pereira (a Northport native) and Daneil Ulbricht. The girls, students at the Ohman School of Ballet in Commack, perform multiple roles in the iconic holiday story ballet including children in the Party Scene, Toy Soldiers and Mice in the Battle Scene, Snowflakes, Angels, and various confections in the Land of Sweets.

Eileen Huntsman, a seventh grader at East Northport Middle School from Northport, plays the central role of “Clara” in two of the four performances at Hofstra University.  Olivia Telis, an eigth grader at Candlewood Middle School will play the role of “Clara” in the other two performances. Amelia Novellino, a sixth grader at St. Patrick’s School in Smithtown and Elizabeth Pau, a fifth grader at Sawmill Intermediate in Commack, share the pivotal role of Clara’s brother “Fritz,” who breaks Clara’s Nutcracker and sets the plot in motion, each in two of the four performances.

This year’s cast includes young dancers from the area as follows: Elodie Hennessy and Violet Hennessy of Centerport; Amari Bhalla, Anna Clemente, Melina Cuccia, Elysena De Stefano, Brynn Farino, Anna Gross, Isabel Gross, Sofia Gross, Marilyn Ihasz, Emma Martir, Isabella Song, Alyssa Tavares, Sara Tobia, Nina Van Zandt, and Vivienne Vasquez of Commack; Priya Chan, Esther Cheong, Mikaela Gluck, Arpi Harutyunyan, Aviva Hellman, Galina Hellman, Ariel Kerley, Hazel Maccarone, Elizabeth Pau, Carina San José, Adrianna Stucchio, Annabelle Telis, and Olivia Telis of Dix Hills; Kaia Abdulkhalek, Amelie Brody, Knox Brody, Addison Candelaria, and Valentina Linardic of East Northport; Angelina Zhang of East Setauket; Seraphina Moger of Greenlawn; Sarah Shao and Charlotte Stratton of Huntington; Magdalen Schaefer of Kings Park; Olivia Deng of Melville; Mary Calefato of Nesconset; Eileen Huntsman, Penelope Moloney, and Henley Nemeth of Northport; Laila DarConte, Amelia Novellino, Chloe Foster, Samara Kolodny, Molly Haft, and Evelyn McCaughey of Smithtown; Sonya Russo of St. James; and Mira Chang of Stony Brook.

Through the years, NYDT founder Frank Ohman (1939-2019), a former student and soloist under George Balanchine, set his staging after his mentor’s iconic Lincoln Center version, and the production includes the original Sugarplum Fairy Pas de Deux from George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker ® by permission of the George Balanchine Trust. In addition, Ohman created original dances and scenes that set his production apart from others on Long Island. 

New York City Ballet soloist Erica Pereira – a Long Island native – and principal dancer Daniel Ulbricht will perform as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier in all performances. Mr. Ulbricht also serves as an artistic advisor for the Ohman School of Ballet, a division of New York Dance Theatre, and has been a recurring master class instructor at the school.

With the elegant Christmas Party Scene, the drama of the magical growing Christmas Tree, the Battle of the Toy Soldiers and Giant Mice, the live snowstorm, and the brilliant dancing in the Land of the Sweets, “The Nutcracker” appeals to all ages.  In all, a cast of 80 children, pre-professional and professional dancers will bring this classic story ballet to life on the stage of the John Cranford Adams Playhouse.   The children’s roles are performed by students of the Frank Ohman School of Ballet in Commack and the School of American Ballet (the home school of New York City Ballet). New this year under the direction of NYDT /Ohman School of Ballet alumna/Executive Artistic Director Nicole Loizides is a semi-immersive pre-show experience that invites audience members into the Silberhaus home before the curtain rises, with the sights, smells and sounds of the Christmas Eve party that is the setting for the ballet. Loizides returns to the NYDT Nutcracker stage for the first time in over a decade, playing the role of Frau Silberhaus.

The 41st season of “The Nutcracker” kicks off the company’s 50th anniversary on Long Island and the annual holiday tradition the start of a year of revival and growth.  As Loizides explains, “This year’s theme is about bringing it home!  We are bringing to light the direction of the school and company as founder Frank Ohman intended. I am rooted in the vision of bringing a new awareness to dance on Long Island, from classical to folkloric to contemporary. Our roots are alive, our repertoire is expanding, and our outreach is wide. We are bringing new works to life by world renowned choreographers, restaging many of Frank Ohman’s classics, and staging works by dance icons including George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Agnes De Mille and Jerrome Robbins.”  

Tickets for this full production ballet are $45.00 and $35.00 (seniors and children 12 and under) plus $3 fee, available at www.ohmanballet.org or 631.462.0964.   Group discounts are available for 15 or more tickets in a single show and for Scout troops (ordered by phone and with Scout ID) as well as photo opportunities with specific ticket packages. Details about Covid-19 protocols for audience members are outlined on the website and are subject to change according to local government guidelines. A small portion of ticket sales goes to New York Dance Theatre’s Developpé program introducing dance to at-risk youth, foster families and children in need through workshops, classes, performances, mentors and scholarships in a partnership with Hope for Youth Long Island, Mommas House and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island.

About the Frank Ohman School of Ballet 

The Frank Ohman School of Ballet was founded in 1979 by Frank Ohman (1939-2019), former soloist at New York City Ballet (NYCB).  Located in Commack, the school serves as a training ground for promising young dancers and offers aspiring students the opportunity to learn classical ballet in the style passed down from George Balanchine to his protégé, Frank Ohman.  The school is a non-competition, non-recital school, focusing on proper classical ballet technique. A division of the New York Dance Theatre, Inc., the Ohman School has become an integral part of the company and is one of the very few not-for-profit ballet schools in the region.  It offers three studios with state-of-the art flooring to Balanchine specifications and a highly qualified teaching staff. Artistic advisors for the school include New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht and retired New York City Ballet principal Ask la Cour, who served as Artistic Director of the school following Frank Ohman’s passing, as well as former Dance Theatre of Harlem principal Da’Von Doane.

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By Michael Scro

The Leo P. Ostebo Kings Park Heritage Museum held its Irish Night 2023 on Friday, Sept. 22, at the RJO Middle School auditorium, featuring a lively performance by musician Ed Ryan and Irish step dancing by the Mulvihill-Lynch Irish Dancers.

Hosted by Kevin Johnston, chair of Kings Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee and representative of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, he welcomed the audience of about 40 to 50 people — many donning Irish clothing.

Ryan played a powerful and entertaining set of Irish songs from “Whisky In The Jar,” “The Black Velvet Band,” “When New York Was Irish,” “Big Strong Man To The Town I Love So Well,” “Danny Boy” and “Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ra (That’s An Irish Lullaby).” 

Between songs, he told a variety of age-old Irish jokes, bringing about laughter from the audience and also gave historical background and reference to many of the songs he belted out with his acoustic guitar.

The Mulvihill-Lynch dancers provided a precise and professional level of dancing that wowed the audience from start to finish. Clapping along to the Irish music, the crowd cheered loudly after each dance.

Johnston thanked Ryan and the dancers, and noted that the dance studio was started about 40 years ago by Gerry Mulvihill. Among those in attendance were Debbie Lynch-Webber who ran the dance group and was a student of the founder, as well as Maureen Hanley who was also a former student.

St. John's Hellenic Dancers perform for guests at last year's Port Jefferson Greek Festival. Photo courtesy of John Damaskos

By Heidi Sutton

Traditional Greek food, music and dancing will take center stage as the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Port Jefferson hosts its 62nd annual Greek Festival on church grounds tonight, Thursday, Aug. 24 from 5 to 10 p.m.,  Friday, Aug. 25 from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 26 from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 27 from noon to 10 p.m. 

A celebration of Greek culture, the four-day event will feature a variety of vendors, fireworks, church tours, live Greek music and dancing, games of chance and carnival rides by Newton Shows. Pay-one-price bracelets for the rides may be purchased in advance at www.newtonshows.com.

Authentic mouth-watering foods such as gyros, tyropita (cheese pie), moussaka, souvlaki, and spanakopita (spinach pie) will be served up, along with sweet desserts such as galaktoboureko, koulourakia, baklava and loukoumades, a fried dough pastry favorite.

One of the main attractions at the festival is the over-the-top sweepstakes that the church holds every year. This year 200 prizes will be awarded from cars — a 2023 Mercedes Benz CLA 250 C4 is first prize — to an Apple Watch, 10″ Samsung Tablet, Smart TV, Ring Security Camera, a fire pit, Nintendo Switch, Robot Roomba, espresso machine, Michael Kors handbag, Coach handbag, cash prizes and more. Tickets for the sweepstakes are $100 each and are limited to 4,499 tickets. The drawing will be held on Aug. 27 at 8 p.m.

The event is also an opportunity to see traditional Greek dance performances by the St. John’s Hellenic Dancers who will take to the dance floor on Saturday at 7 p.m. Fireworks will be held on Friday and Saturday nights at 9:15 p.m., weather permitting. 

Free shuttle buses will pick up attendees from Ward Melville High School, 380 Old Town Road, East Setauket to transport them to festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. Parking is also available at BASF Corporation across the street from the church at 361 Sheep Pasture Road and at Head Start at 400 Sheep Pasture Road. Handicapped parking is available at the church. Admission to the festival is $2 per person; children under 12 can attend for free.

The Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption is located at 430 Sheep Pasture Road in Port Jefferson. For more information, call the church office at 631-473-0894 or visit www.portjeffgreekfest.com.

Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Co. head to the Chapin Rainbow Stage on July 13. Photo by Darin Reed

Summer is finally here and that means the return of the Huntington Summer Arts Festival at the Chapin Rainbow Stage at Heckscher Park, 2 Prime Ave., in Huntington. Now in its 58th year, the festival will offer four weeks of free, live performances Wednesdays to Sundays from July 1 to 30. Sunday performances start at 7 p.m., all others performances start at 8 p.m. unless noted. 

Produced by the Town of Huntington and presented by the Huntington Arts Council (HAC), the festival clearly has something for everyone whether it be music, dance or theater. This year features festival mainstays such as the Huntington Community Band and The Huntington’s Men’s Chorus while highlighting new acts such as Tito Rodriguez Jr./Huntington Latin Night, Dr. K’s Motown Revue and Swing Sessions with Dudley Music and Guests.

Opening weekend sets the stage for this breakthrough season featuring Brooklyn based Sunny Jain’s Red Baraat on July 1 and the popular Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra on July 2. The Festival will go dark on Mondays and Tuesdays but ramp up again with the Huntington Community Band each Wednesday for the duration of the month.

The Englishtown Project is an exciting addition this year on July 7th. Followed by six-time Grammy winner Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, classic Motown sounds with Dr. K’s Motown Revue, The Hot Sardines’ take on classic jazz tunes, and the return of Huntington-born Chieli Minucci & Special EFX All Stars rounding out the weekend.

The 17th Huntington Folk Festival, a collaborative effort of the Folk Music Society of Huntington and HAC, returns on July 22. The open mic session at 12:30 p.m. will be followed by L.I. based singer/songwriters swapping songs on the hill from 1:30 to 3:45 p.m., and on-stage from 4 to 6 p.m. The day culminates with co-headliners Lucy Kaplansky and Cliff Eberhardt, pre-concert at 8 p.m.

Additional regulars include the North Shore Pops Concert Band, and Plaza Theatrical Productions with a presentation of the Broadway Rock Musical RENT. Fabulous dance performances are highlighted once again by Sol Y Sombra Spanish Dance Company, and the L.I. Dance Consortium.

Closing out the Festival will be The Jazz Loft Big Band and Tom Manuel with Grammy nominated guest vocalist Nicole Zuraitis on July 29 and Orchestra L.I., conducted by Musical Director David Stewart Wiley, serves up a delightful “In Concert With Nature” with works by Handel (Water Music), George Walker, the Mendelsohnn siblings Fanny & Felix, and for this year’s Festival Finale, Pastorale—Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Opus 68 on July 30.

“Huntington Arts Council takes pride in being able to present an exciting, free summer series of live performances. This year in particular, I am happy that our selection of acts is more representative of the diversity in our community. Our goal is to make the festival relevant, entertaining and accessible to everyone. All are welcome to attend!” said Kieran Johnson, Executive Director, Huntington Arts Council.

Below is the complete schedule for the season.

For a copy of the printed calendar click this link.

Saturday, July 1 – Sunny Jain’s Red Baraat

Sunday, July 2 – Nassau Pops Symphony Orchestra, 7:00PM start time

Wednesday, July 5 – Huntington Community Band, “All Around The World”

Thursday, July 6 – Huntington Men’s Chorus, “Seriously Sinatra”

–      Northport Community Band 8:30PM, start time NPT Park

Friday, July 7 – The Englishtown Project

Saturday, July 8 – Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra

Sunday, July 9 – RENT Jonathan Larson’s Broadway Rock Musical by Plaza Theatrical Productions, 7:00PM start time

Wednesday, July 12 – Huntington Community Band, “Viva Long Island”

Thursday, July 13 – Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Co.

–      Northport Community Band 8:30PM, start time NPT Park

Friday, July 14 – Dr. K’s Motown Revue

Saturday, July 15 – The Hot Sardines

Sunday, July 16 – Chieli Minucci & Special EFX All-Stars, 7:00PM start time

Wednesday, July 19 – Huntington Community Band, “Una Celebracion de la Musica Latina”, 7:00PM Jazz Band start time; 8:00 PM Concert Band start time

Thursday, July 20 – North Shore Pops Concert Band

–      Northport Community Band 8:30PM, start time NPT Park

Friday, July 21 – Huntington Latin Night: Tito Rodriguez Jr. Orchestra; Opening Act – ZapOte Band; DJ Acito; Salsa Demo – Star Ballroom Dance Studiio 7:00 PM start time.

Saturday, July 22 – 16th Huntington Folk Festival, Cliff Eberhardt & Lucy Kaplansky, pre-concert interview at 7:15, concert at 8:00PM. Daytime open mic session hosted by Toby Tobias at 12:30, is followed by L.I. based singer/songwriters swapping songs on the hill from 1:30 to 3:45 PM, and on-stage from 4:00 to 6:00 PM.

Sunday, July 23 – L.I. Dance Consortium, “Long Island Dances!, 7:00PM start time

Wednesday, July 26 – Huntington Community Band,”…and Home Again!”

Thursday, July 27 – Swing Sessions with Dudley Music & Guests, local emerging Artists. Performers include Gabi Rose; saxophonist/vocalist, alt-rock trio MJT; and bassist Andraleia, leader of Empathology. 7:30PM start time.

–      Northport Community Band 8:30PM, start time NPT Park

Saturday, July 29 – Jazz Loft Big Band, Tom Manuel Conductor, Nicole Zuraitis, Guest Vocalist

Sunday, July 30 – Orchestra L.I., David Stewart Wiley, Conductor “In Concert With Nature”, 7:00PM start time, 6:15 PM pre-concert talk by Maestro David Stewart Wiley.

For more information, visit www.huntingtonarts.org.

From left, principal dancers Maya Butkevich as Sugar Plum and Madeleine Martufi as Clara in a scene from the show.

The Seiskaya Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a perennial holiday favorite on Long Island, returns to Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts Main Stage, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook for a five-performance run from Dec. 17 to 19. This classical ballet rendition has earned praise from critics and audiences alike. 

 Hailed as Long Island’s most lavish “Nutcracker,” the Seiskaya Ballet production of the classic holiday ballet is truly an international collaboration beginning with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s most famous score. Sets and several costumes were designed by Poland’s Margaret Piotrowska whose highly respected work in Polish television and stage productions has garnered wide praise. 

Directed by founder Joseph Forbes, scenery was executed by Scenic Art Studios which has been credited with painting over 300 Broadway shows. The imaginative and unusual sculptures utilized in the Seiskaya Ballet’s production were the brainchild of creative artist Matt Targon. Choreographed by celebrated Russian-born Valia Seiskaya, this acclaimed production is imbued with bravura dancing, energy and endearing charisma.

The cast will be led by leading dancer of Orlando’s United Ballet Theatre and Butler University graduate standout, guest artist, Max Lippman (Cavalier) and Seiskaya Ballet’s award winning principal dancers Maya Butkevich, Vivian Ye and Madeleine Martufi plus returning principal dancers Brianna Jimenez, Diana Atoian and Eva Pyrros.

Performances will be held on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. Dec. 18 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $40 for adults, $34 children and seniors. To order, call 631-632-ARTS (2787) or visit www.nutcrackerballet.com. 

From left, Claire DeVaney, Sonya Russo, Aviva Hellman, and Eileen Huntsman. Photo courtesy of New York Dance Theatre

Local young dancers will share the stage with New York City Ballet stars Indiana Woodward and Daniel Ulbricht in New York Dance Theatre’s 40th season of “The Nutcracker” at Hofstra University, 1000 Hempsteak Turnpike, Hempstead on Dec. 17 and 18 with performances at noon and 5 p.m. Woodward will perform as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Ulbricht will perform as her Cavalier. 

The young dancers, students at the Ohman School of Ballet in Commack, will perform multiple roles in the iconic holiday story ballet including children in the Party Scene, Toy Soldiers and Mice in the Battle Scene, Snowflakes, Angels, and various confections in the Land of Sweets.

Aviva Hellman, a seventh grader at West Hollow Middle School in Dix Hills and Sonya Russo, a sixth grader at Nesaquake Middle School in St. James, play the central role of “Clara” each in two of the four performances. Claire DeVaney, a seventh grader at Commack Middle School, and Eileen Huntsman, a sixth grader at East Northport Middle School, share the pivotal role of Clara’s brother “Fritz,” who breaks Clara’s Nutcracker and sets the plot in motion, each in two of the four performances.

This year’s cast also includes Chloe Cantillo, Anna Clemente, Elysena DeStefano, Brynn Farino, Anna Gross, Isabel Gross, Sofia Gross, Marilyn Ihasz, Emily Kern, Emma Martir, Ava Napolitano, Alyssa Tavares, Sara Tobia, Nina Van Zandt, Vivienne Vasquez, and Madison Wagner of Commack; Chloe Cheng, Esther Cheng, Mikaela Gluck, Emma Grabelsky, Galina Hellman, Ariel Kerley, Holly Lochridge, Elizabeth Pau, Carina San Jose, Adrianna Stucchio of Dix Hills; Olivia Deng of Melville; Clio Sun and Seraphina Moger of Greenlawn; Charlotte Stratton of Huntington; Addison Candelaria, Grace Galgano, and Kayla Kuprian of East Northport; Elodie Hennessy and Violet Hennessy of Centerport; Magdalen Schaefer of Kings Park; Sophia Ferro of Setauket; Olivia Wu of Stony Brook; and Mary Calefato, Laila DarConte, Chloe Foster, Molly Haft, Samara Kolodny, Evelyn McCaughey, and Amelia Grace Novellino of Smithtown.

With the elegant Christmas Party Scene, the drama of the magical growing Christmas Tree, the Battle of the Toy Soldiers and Giant Mice, the live Snow Storm, and the brilliant dancing in the Land of the Sweets, “The Nutcracker” appeals to all ages. In all, a cast of 80 children, pre-professional and professional dancers will bring this classic ballet to life on the stage of the John Cranford Adams Playhouse.

Tickets are $42, $32 seniors and children 12 and under plus $3 fee, available at www.ohmanballet.org or by calling 631-462-0964.

Come dance with the lions at the 8th annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival. Photo from PJCC

Dragons will roar and lions will dance once again as the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Race Festival on Saturday, Sept. 17. The free event will take place at Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park, 101A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson and the village’s inner harbor.  

A scene from last year’s festival. Photo from PJCC

The festival is the brainchild of Barbara Ransome, Director of Operations at the chamber, who attended a dragon boat race festival in Cape May, New Jersey, a few years ago.

Opening ceremonies will begin at the Jill Nees Russell Performance Stage at the east end of the park at 8:30 a.m. and will include a performance by the Asian Veterans Color Guard, singing of the national anthem by Sophia Bloom, a Blessing of the Dragon and the traditional “Eye Dotting” ceremony to awaken the dragon.

“This is our 8th annual Dragon Boat Race Festival and we have 24 racing teams, last year 17 just out of COVID, so I think we are back to normal!,” said Ransome, ‘Mother of Dragons.’

With dragon boats provided by Great White North,  the first race scheduled for 9 a.m., boat teams will compete on a 250-meter, three-lane racing course. Each team is made up of 20 “paddlers,” one steersman and one drummer. Heats will run all day, culminating in an awards ceremony at 5 p.m. where medals will be awarded in three divisions. Spectators can easily view the race course from the park’s edge.

Team contests for the best team T-shirt, best drummer and best costumed drummer will be judged in the middle of the day. 

A scene from last year’s festival. Photo from PJCC

In addition to the races, there will be a day-long festival featuring numerous performances including the famous Lion Dance, Taiko and Korean Drum performances, martial arts demonstrations and Asian singing. Cultural and educational vendors and retailers will be on hand as well including representatives from Power Home Remodeling, Pure Mammography ­­— Lake Grove, Northshore Properties Realty, Renewal by Anderson Windows, Mather Hospital, Stony Brook Chinese School, Rebel Thaiboxing and T-Mobile for Business. 

Always a highlight, food this year will include pot stickers, veggie lo-mein, burgers, tacos, bacon quesadillas, and empanadas and there will be an abundance of children’s activities including origami, trick yo-yo demonstrations, face painting, and Chinese calligraphy and crafts, courtesy of the Port Jefferson Free Library. In addition, an educator from the Center for Environmental Educational and Discovery will bring Ozzy the bearded dragon and other ambassador animals.

“The harborfront park lends itself to this event, with our team encampments, the performance stage for all the Asian entertainment and plenty of room for our food trucks, sponsors and vendors! This will be a great team building day and lots of fun. The Chamber is very proud to be  hosting this unique event,” said Ransome.

The event will be held rain or shine. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and come enjoy the festivities! For more information, call 631-473-1414 or visit www.portjeffdragonracefest.com.

Schedule of Events: Saturday Sept. 17

7:45 a.m.  

Team Captains Meeting on the Great Lawn at Harborfront Park

8:30 a.m.  

Opening Ceremonies with Master of Ceremony Suzanne Velazquez, Asian Veterans Color Guard, Singing of the National Anthem by Sophia Bloom, and Blessing of the Dragon, ‘Eye Dotting’ ceremony

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Food Vendors, Cultural Crafts, Children Activities, Retail/Educational/Nonprofit Vendor Tables

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Continual Dragon Boat Races in Port Jefferson’s Inner Harbor

10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. 

The Sound of Long Island Chorus:

Americana Program and Traditional Chinese Songs

10:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Long Island Chinese Dance Group

A scene from last year’s festival. Photo from PJCC

11:15 a.m. to noon

Chinese Classical Long Fan Dance, Chinese Folk singing, umbrella dance, and instrumental performance of “Big Fish” by Port Jefferson High School Music Group

12 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.  

Lunch Break (no racing)

12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Taiko Tides Drumming and Oroshi Drumming contest

12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. 

Parade of the Team T-shirts Contest 

Best Drummer Costume Contest

1 p.m. to 2 p.m.  

Shaolin Kung Fu Lion Dance 

Kung Fu  & Tai Chi Demonstrations

2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.  

Galante Martial Arts demonstrating Tai Chi, Armis (Filipino Martial Arts) and Jiu Jitsu

2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

Stony Brook Youth Chorus

3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Yana Dance Group – Chinese Traditional Dance

3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Yixin Dance Center – Chinese Classical Dance

4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Rebel Thaiboxing Demonstrations

4:30 p.m.

Last Dragon Boat Race

5 p.m.

Closing Ceremonies and Awards