One last bow: Morace takes last Sugar Plum Fairy ride

Published 12:12 am Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat Dancers watch from the wings as Randa Morace dances as the Sugar Plum Fairy during Friday night’s performance of the Natchez Ballet Academy’s 28th annual performance of The Nutcracker at the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center.

NATCHEZ — Randa Morace took the stage for “The Nutcracker” at the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center Friday night with bittersweet joy.

Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat — Randa Morace performs her last dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

This will be the last year the Trinity Episcopal Day School senior will dance across the stage with the angels, snowflakes, the Nutcracker Prince and the other stars of Natchez Ballet Academy’s presentation of the famous ballet.

Morace and Caitlyn Upton, a junior at Cathedral School, are this year’s sugarplum fairies, roles they say they have been looking forward to playing since they were young girls.

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But this year, Morace said, “The Nutcracker” is both special and sad for her.

“I’m just heartbroken that this is my last time,” she said.

Morace confessed that she had shed a few tears after warm-ups.

“I think it’s really going to hit me after the show,” she said.

Morace and Upton have danced together as young girls, and Upton said she would miss Morace next year.

“She is my sister in dance,” she said.

Anthony Neumann, who plays the Nutcracker Prince, said Morace has been great to work with during the ballet.

“She is such a hard worker and always gives 100 percent,” he said.

Academy Director Mignon Reid said Morace will be missed next year, but she is confident the other girls will step up to fill Morace’s slippers.

“But I can tell you, we are sure going to miss her,” she said.

This year’s production is different from past years, Reid said, and she is hoping that draws big crowds to see the ballet.

“The cast is bigger than ever this year,” she said. “There’s lots of changes, and everyone is doing wonderfully. It’s really worth it to come see it.”

“The Nutcracker” will show today at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center on Homochitto Street. Admission is $10.

Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat — Snowflakes perform their ballet magic on the stage.

Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat — Dania Nunez performs as the Snow Queen.

Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat — Jewel King performs as Clara.