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Plymouth dancers in "The Nutcracker"

When the curtain rises Dec. 11 at Derby Academy in Hingham, the dreams of nearly 60 local South Shore Ballet Theatre students will come true. After months of rehearsals, these local ballet students are eager to share their love of ballet and performing with the local South Shore community. All are invited to see SSBT’s annual production of the holiday family favorite, The Nutcracker. Local Plymouth residents Allison Palmer (who will be sharing the lead role of Clara), Olivia Cadieux, Charlotte Hovey, Kaitlin Kiley, Anna Kiley, Isabel Mallon, Ella Withington, Bailey Jordan and Aris Giatrakos (not pictured) are featured in SSBT’s Nutcracker production. There will be three performances – at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, and at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, at Derby Academy, 56 Burditt Ave., Hingham. Reserved seat tickets are $20; general admission tickets are $10. Stop by the school at 24 Rockland St in Hanover, call 781-312-7224 or visit Become a fan of SSBT on Facebook for the latest ballet school news. SSBT 

on Facebook for the latest ballet school news. SSBT was founded in 2008 by Marthavan McKeon with the goal of providing professional ballet training in a nurturing environment to dancers on the South Shore. Although only in its third year, SSBT has already gained a foothold in the ballet community with students being accepted to prestigious, intensive, summer programs across the United States. SSBT, which offers classes for children age 3 through adults, is located off Route 53 on Route 139 in Hanover – not far from the Pembroke town line.

Amazing program teaching important lessons - 

To the editor: PLYMOUTH-

Thank you to the kind and generous students and families from the Manomet School of Dance who donated many items to our U.S. soldiers and new unwrapped toys for a local family who lost their home in a recent fire. Care to Dance was the name of their charity during the month of December and it was a huge success. Not only does the dance school have an amazing program, but teaching my daughter the importance of community service is a priceless education that I would not like to go unnoticed. 

The staff is second to none and the student helpers are exactly what younger girls need as role models. Thank you.

Legacy of dance - local girl third generation

to perform in The Nutcracker

By Emily Wilcox - PLYMOUTH — Sometimes inclination speaks for itself, and sometimes blood does the talking. For Allison Palmer, dancing in Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker was probably inspired by a little of both.Her aunts, great-aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother all had strong ties to this ballet. At just 9 years old, Allison is a third-generation Nutcracker performer.“I guess it is in my blood,” she said. “It’s a really great experience, although it’s tiring. You have to drive all the way into Boston, wait backstage, go to wardrobe, wait some more. It’s fun.”The legacy began with Palmer’s great-grandmother, Faith McLarnon, costume-maker for the original production of The Nutcracker. She made a hand-beaded dewdrop fairy costume for her ballerina daughter, Fern McLarnon, to wear for her solo in the show – a costume that was passed down to Fern’s successor soloists for years. Allison’s great-aunt, Fern McLarnon Gladstone, and her grandmother, Nanci Palmer, performed with the New England Civic Ballet Company’s production of The Nutcracker. Founded by E. Virginia Williams,

The Civic Ballet Company became Boston Ballet.But we’re not done yet. Allison’s aunt, Tracey Palmer, danced as a doll, party child and angel in Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker in the late 1970s.“She used to lock them out of the house if they didn’t go to dance class,” Allison’s mother, Kathy Palmer, said about Faith McLarnon and her daughters. “They were dancing from the time they were in kindergarten.”Now Allison, descendent of a long line of ballerinas, is performing in the role of a lamb in this year’s production. Allison was 4 when she started taking tap and jazz dance at Manomet School of Dance, Kathy said. Four years later, Allison’s grandmother, Nanci Palmer, put in her two cents, noting that Allison’s growing dedication to dance would be bolstered with a ballet class. Even if a dancer wants to stick with jazz or tap, the discipline and strength training of ballet enhances any dancer’s ability.Kathy enrolled Allison in Boston Ballet’s school, which has a satellite studio in Norwell. Dancers must train for a year at this school before they can even try out for a role in The Nutcracker. In her second year at the school, Allison made the cut and was cast as a lamb in the show. It was quite a coup for a 9-year-old performer who loves entertaining.“Ballet is the only thing Allison wanted to stick with. We tried swimming lessons, tennis lessons,” 

Kathy said. “When you put her on stage, she’s always in the front line and always smiling. She’s just happy to be up there.”But make no mistake; ballet is no cakewalk.One of the most strenuous activities, ballet may look beautiful, fluid and easy on stage, but strap on a pair of toe shoes, try just one of those leg extensions for a minute and you will find yourself huffing and puffing. Dating from the 16th century in Italy, ballet was a courtly affair that matured into an athletic art form that rivals sports like basketball in the agility and strength of its disciples.Once ballet became firmly established, just about every little girl dreamed of becoming a ballerina. But the shear strength, agility and flexibility required to excel has made it only a dream for many. To really shine, ballet dancers have to start young and be incredibly disciplined.And as with sports, injuries can sideline dancers and destroy careers.For Allison, performing is fabulously fun, but her dream is to teach. Once the season is over, she will have performed her lamb dance for huge audiences 13 times. She noted that there are so many performances it takes three different casts to perform the 35 shows in the season.Kathy couldn’t say enough about the wonderful instruction Allison has received at both the Manomet School of Dance and the Boston Ballet. Parents like Kathy and Allison’s dad, Keith Palmer, make a big commitment to the cause, driving Allison in and out of Boston, Norwell and Manomet to classes and shows.And it looks like the shuttle service won’t be ending any time soon.When Kathy Palmer announced to her 3-year-old daughter, Sydney, (Allison’s sister), that they were all going to see Allison in the show, Sydney had an interesting response.“I don’t want to seeThe Nutcracker,” she said. “I want to dance in The Nutcracker.”

(Scot Yount, NECN: Boston, MA) - She is like most of the little people on stage in Boston's historic production of The Nutcracker ballet."It doesn't feel like work it just feels like doing something you love."In this year's show, 9-year-old Allison Palmer dutifully applies that love to the part of a lamb."It's fun everyone goes ahhh...and when the black lamb walks out after everyone else everyone cracks up."Allison's been dancing ballet just a might say it is in her genetic makeup. The Palmer name is kind of a big deal around here...Allison's great grandmother taught ballet and made costumes for the New England Civic Ballet. The fore runner of Boston.You started dancing when you four? "yes because my mother was a dance teacher..and I was on point shoes at five."Nanci palmer--is Allison's grandmother....the Grande Dame--once a professional dancer...a teacher for life.....her sister too...they danced the nutcracker--starting around age 10....the discipline they learned all those years ago...has been passed down. "I am very happy that Allison is also a part of the nutcracker and following in our steps."

"For me The Nutcracker like is Christmas" Tracey Palmer Nanci's daughter is Allison's aunt. She started dancing at two...soloed at three....and of course danced the nutcracker too. "It is just a blast to see Allison who is nine and I was nine when I was first in it and I saw her up there and I knew how she felt as a little kid and it was just so cool and I was really excited for her." It is 

hard not to be."You've got costumes and make up and hair it is like princess is very exciting."So let's review-from great grandmother to Allison...four generations....that kind of heritage is hard to come by and not lost on remember...this little dancer is just nine years old."I think it is really great to have history....and I just think all my family was doing in way back then I look at the pictures and I just think wow it is so different and it has changed so much, I don't think there were even lambs, when they were back in it."Now that's perspective. And her parents know it.Overall the dancing is so important but overall the friendships and what it is teaching her about life in is just such a great lesson."Allison is hooked on much more than the family lineage by the way...she likes this gig and wants to branch scene in particular looks like it might be more fun than being a lamb. Next year I am hoping very badly a poly Schnell, I have seen them and I want to be under Mother Ginger's skirt it just sounds so much fun."So the future looks bright....after all...these are the palmer women we are talking about."I wanna teach someday...and I am hoping my little sister will catch in...she just started at the jazz and tap school...she is three and I am hoping she is going to catch on to the history."

Indian Brook Elementary hosts

Manomet School of Dance

By Kathryn Koch- PLYMOUTH — At Indian Brook Elementary School Wednesday, children in the morning kindergarten had fun with music through active participation in dance with teens from the Manomet School of Dance.Plymouth North High School seniors Jillian White and Nicole Fitzpatrick led the children in the morning’s music and movement program and returned the following afternoon to get the afternoon kindergarten moving to the music. White, who has been dancing for 16 years, said they visited the school last year, too, at the invitation of one of the mothers, and were happy to be invited back. She said they saw several familiar faces during the program and had lots of fun.“We teach at our studio, and we know a bunch of the students here,” she said. A dancer for 13 years, Fitzpatrick said she enjoys teaching the kinds of party dances they showed the children at Indian Brook. She’s used to being in front of large groups of children and likes to teach dance.“I just love little kids and working with them and helping them,” she said. The Hokey Pokey, limbo and Chicken Dance were just the songs to get the children moving after warming up with their teachers. Throw in some music from High School Musical, and the program was complete.To the question, “Did you have fun?” the children gave a resounding, “Yeah!”

Kindergartners at Indian Brook Elementary School Limbo down March 18 with help from Manomet School of Dance dancers Nicole Fitzpatrick and Jillian White, both Plymouth North High School seniors

Plymouth North High School seniors Nicole Fitzpatrick, left, and Jillian White from the Manomet School of Dance lead Indian Brook Elementary School morning kindergartners in stretches before dancing the Hokey Pokey

Indian Brook moves to the music

Manomet School of Dance dancers get Indian Brook morning kindergartners moving to the music March 18