The Nutcracker: A Family Tradition

Chester Valley Dance Academy's production of the Nutcracker has always been a family tradition for our audience members, but also for our cast and crew. We have so many siblings and family members involved in the show this year both onstage and behind the scenes.

Studio Director Cathy Moran shares fond memories of how her family has helped the show grow and evolve over the years.  "Thirty three years ago, my grandmother, Anne Sabatini originated the role of the Grandmother which is now played by my mother, Barbara Mange." Through the years, the Moran family has been involved in the show both on stage and off. Her husband, Pete Moran works the sound board and followspot throughout each show to highlight the scene and choreography. Her Uncle, Father Francis Sabatini, has been the announcer for many years and is this year’s acting advisor. Joe Mange, Miss Cathy's step-father, was the original set designer for many of our props and sets still used today. He passed in 2017 and we keep him in our hearts year after year, especially during this special holiday season. 

Debbie Lombardi, Miss Cathy’s sister will be doing hair and make-up for the young performers this weekend. Her children Savanna & Kahlea Sachar also have performed in this holiday tradition for many years.  Lenny Bartelmo and Stephen Bartelmo, their brothers, have helped in many shows from lighting to dancing the role of Fritz.  

Miss Cathy’s children Luke, Brendan, and Sophia Moran are now carrying on the tradition of performing in the Nutcracker. Luke and Brendan have made many appearances in the Party Scene and Sophia is dancing the role of Clara in the Sunday, 5:30 pm show on Sunday, December 18th. This year, there are three generations of Bartelmo-Moran family members involved in the show.

Another prominent CVDA Family are the Eadies. Jon "Bird" Eadie and his wife Theresa have been a part of the show for over a decade and their daughters Hannah (2015) and Brenna (2017) have always loved performing in the show alongside their parents. Bird has performed the role of Father of the House and will reprise this role this year. He has memorably performed the role of Mother Ginger accompanying the Gingerbread and Bakers on stage.  Santa is always a favorite for him as well.  

The Kerollis family has been a part of the CVDA Nutcracker for many years as well. Barry Kerollis began his training at CVDA and moved on to perform with numerous professional ballet companies like Pacific North West Ballet. For many years he returned to the studio, partnering with our dancers to perform the grand pas de deux in our production of the Nutcracker. He is currently a choreographer and educator in New York City. His sister Rachel and half brother David also performed many roles. Most notably, Rachel as Coffee and David at Tea leads.  Rachel's daughter Ella just graduated this spring and followed in her mothers footsteps performing the role of Dew Drop in her senior year. Robin Kerollis-Napiecek and her husband Jerry even now continue to come back to assist with security and ushers.  All of their children and grandchildren are grown but the are still a part of the CVDA family.

Ms. Stephanie Farrelly and Ms. Kate Nasuti are members of the CVDA Office staff and work throughout the year on many aspects of the show. In recent weeks they have been tailoring and altering costumes for each of our performers. During the shows they work behind the scenes to ensure our shows run smoothly backstage and by doing so, they share this experience with their daughters. Mrs. Farrelly and Ms. Nasuti's eldest daughters Charlotte Farelly and Emma Nasuti recently graduated this past spring and their siblings Jane and Lucy Farrelly and Elizabeth Nasuti will be sharing the stage throughout the performance this weekend.

Many of CVDA's teachers work throughout the season to train our dancers for the demands of the stage in their weekly classes. Ms. Rachel Carroll, Ms. Angie Cibelli and Ms. Annie McGillian all teach year round at CVDA and work backstage during the Nutcracker. They have the special opportunity to watch their children perform from the wings as they work to make magic happen behind the scenes ensuring props move on and off of the stage on time and curtain cues are met. Ava and Mia Cibelli share the stage throughout the weekend. Mia Cibelli dances the role of Fritz and Tea while Ava performs as a Point Soldier, Angel Princess, and a Flower in Waltz of the Flowers with Miss Rachel's daughter Chloe. The McGillian siblings will dance together in the party scene in the Sunday 1:00 show as Gracie McGillian performs the role of Mother of the House and her brother Luke as a party guest. Gracie will also perform Hot Chocolate, and Demi Lead in both the Snow scene and Waltz of the Flowers.

Ms. Pam Devenney taught at CVDA and choreographed the Battle Scene for many years and each of her family members has performed in the show. Her daughters Elizabeth (‘15) and Emma (‘18) have fond memories performing in the shows throughout their time at CVDA and her husband, Dave, made appearances on stage in the Party Scene. Her family is still involved in the show this year working behind the scenes.

We love when siblings of CVDA dancers take part in their sibling's activities. Marcelo Enriquez, brother of CVDA dancer Maya Enriquez will also perform as a party guest. Maya will dance the role of Coffee, Snowflake, Marzipan Corps and Demi Lead in the Waltz of the Flowers. Colm and Tess Dunlap will also share the stage in the Party scene as Colm dances as a Party guest and Tess performs as a Maid in the Saturday 2:00 pm show. Tess will also perform in the battle scene as a soldier and in Act II's Zefir Corps.

Did you know we have two sets of twins in our show? Rebecca and Shannen Madden and Jane and Lucy Farrelly all dance in the battle scene this year in our evening performances and catch the Madden twins as Maids in the party scene in the Sunday 1:00 performance. The Nutcracker also features many more sisters performing throughout the weekend including Paige and Lilly Percy, Justine and Jillian Dyke, Tiana and Anaya Patel, Mya and Isabelle Mazzarese and the Slevinsky sisters; Hannah, Charlotte, and Emma.

There are so many families who are involved in the shows each year and we want to thank all for their support. We would like to give a special thank you to all of our our Classroom Moms who keep of our dancers organized and ready for their cues behind the scenes. 

Miss Kim Martin, although not related to anyone in the cast, she is a second mom to the students and a special part of the Moran family. She is a big reason why Chester Valley Dance Academy students love performing the Nutcracker year after year. It is the annual studio event in which many of our alumni come back to help backstage, as front of house staff, or to be audience members. The Nutcracker is not just a family tradition, but also a family reunion. 

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