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Ballet Embody is Maryland’s premiere contemporary ballet company located in Carroll County. Co-founded in 2019 by Emily Runkle and Melissa Lineburg, Ballet Embody produces original classical and contemporary works.

Performance Notes

NOTES ON BALLET EMBODY’S THE MARYLAND NUTCRACKER BALLET 

 

The magic and tradition of The Nutcracker has brought joy and whimsy to American audiences during the holiday season for nearly a century. Its music and fantastical story keeps the familiarity in our hearts as different ballet companies have changed choreography and occasionally added their own “twist” or flavor to their production. As a Baltimore girl and Maryland native, I started dreaming up a version of The Nutcracker that Marylanders could find especially fun and unique as our own diverse and quirky Maryland culture. May we all fully experience the magic of each Maryland season, grateful for what each brings to our lives. 

Enjoy the holidays this year, and cherish the time with your loved ones. May your days be merry and bright,

 

Emily Runkle

Artistic Director | Ballet Embody

The Story of The Maryland Nutcracker

Act 1 opens with Clara, her brother Fritz, and her parents preparing for their Christmas Eve party. When her friends and relatives arrive, the party commences and they find themselves busy with hugs, gift giving, and dancing…until they are interrupted by the arrival of a shadowy and mysterious figure. Clara calms everyone when she announces that it’s just her godfather, Edgar Allan Poe! 

Poe tries to entertain the children with some of his current musings, such as the haunting Raven, the sickly Annabel Lee, and the terrifying Masque of the Red Death, but the children are frightened. Clara interrupts and reminds him that they are at a Christmas party, and that it’s a time for lovely, happy, Christmas-y things. Poe then uses his imagination and magic to conjure up a beloved holiday toy for her, a magical Nutcracker!

 

After the party, the magic of the Nutcracker creates whimsical adventures in Clara’s dreams. She steps outside her home in Baltimore and meets the Ice Queen and the Frost King, and they summon the Wintry Mix. 

 

Act 2 continues Clara’s dream. Her magical Nutcracker brings in the changing of seasons, from a cold Maryland winter to a hot Maryland summer. Clara meets the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier (who feel quite familiar to Clara!), and together they promise to show Clara many of the wonderful things Maryland has to offer. 

From crabs, to Baltimore peppermint twists, from the beloved Maryland flag, to an Ocean City beach scene, and beyond, Clara’s dream takes her from the Western Maryland Mountains into the City and “downy oshun”! 

 

The Sugar Plum Fairy is a magical character and her presence draws in a holiday feel, no matter the weather. Here, she and her dashing Cavalier dance together, reminding Clara to enjoy each season she is in and to welcome the holiday spirit in that present moment. Clara finally awakens from her dream, thankful to be home and thrilled about the memories she’s made with her new magical Nutcracker.

The Maryland Nutcracker

Choreography by Emily Runkle
Music: Tchaikovsky

Act I

Clara

ARIANNA SCHANBERGER

 

Fritz

ISABELLA NALEWAK

 

Parents

MELISSA LINEBURG     MAX MAISEY

 

Maid

MICA POPPEK

 

Party Children

MADILYN CONROY     ISABELLE KUADEY     JULIA LATKO     MARISSA POTOCKI

AINSLEY ROCKWELL     LAUREN SCHREYER     CAELA STORCK     CAMDEN ZEPP

 

Nurse

GABRIELLE JOHNSON

 

Grandparents

RACHEL HULTQUIST     REECE POLLACK

 

Edgar Allan Poe

ERIK HOFFMAN

 

The Raven     MADISON BONVISSUTO

Annabel Lee     EMILY JARRETT

Masque of the Red Death     FALKNER DISCHER

 

** 10 Minute Pause **

 

Act II

Ice and Frost Pas de Deux

JESSICA MARKIEWICZ     FALKNER DISCHER

 

Wintry Mix Waltz

ELLEN BAST     MADISON BONVISSUTO     REBECCA DUNPHY     KRISTEN FARACLAS     

RACHEL HULTQUIST     EMILY JARRETT     JULIA LATKO

MADILYN CONROY     ISABELLE KUADEY     MARISSA POTOCKI

AINSLEY ROCKWELL     LAUREN SCHREYER     CAELA STORCK

 

Welcome to Maryland

MELISSA LINEBURG     ERIK HOFFMAN

 

Crab + Spice

ELLEN BAST (Sat)     REBECCA DUNPHY     JESSICA MARKIEWICZ (Sun)

 

The Raven

MADISON BONVISSUTO     MAX MAISEY

 

Peppalemons

MAYA RICHARD

ISABELLA NALEWAK     AINSLEY ROCKWELL     CAELA STORCK     CAMDEN ZEPP

 

Maryland Pride

KRISTEN FARACLAS

MADISON BONVISSUTO     EMILY JARRETT

 

Orioles

REBECCA DUNPHY

ELLEN BAST     JULIA LATKO     MAYA RICHARDSON     LAUREN SCHREYER

 

Little Italy and Boh

MAX MAISEY

MADILYN CONROY     RACHEL HULTQUIST     GABRIELLE JOHNSON     MICA POPPEK

 

Beach Waltz

ELLEN BAST     MADISON BONVISSUTO     FALKNER DISCHER     REBECCA DUNPHY     

KRISTEN FARACLAS     EMILY JARRETT     MAX MAISEY     JESSICA MARKIEWICZ     MAYA RICHARD

 

Sugar Plum Pas de Deux

MELISSA LINEBURG     ERIK HOFFMAN

 

Finale

ENTIRE COMPANY

We'll see you May 18 & 19 for our original production of An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe!
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NOTE FROM THE DIRECTORS

 

To Lacee Buckholz:

 

We wanted to take a moment to express our heartfelt gratitude to you for your outstanding contribution to The Maryland Nutcracker this performance season. Your dedication, hard work, and unwavering commitment to excellence have not gone unnoticed, and we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You are truly the MVP of this fall season.

 

We are amazed by your ability to juggle being double cast and to shift roles with such ease. Your talent, skill, and professionalism are truly inspiring, and we are so fortunate to be able to work alongside you. Your grace is nothing short of incredible, and you have brought much joy and awe to everyone throughout our rehearsal process.

 

Due to injury, Lacee is unable to perform, and we are incredibly grateful, wanting to give her a shoutout, for being with us this weekend as a support both in the theater and in the box office. We want you to know that your hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed. Lacee, your presence onstage will be sorely missed, but your contribution to this season has been immeasurable, and we’re looking forward to your spring season with the Company.

 

Once again, thank you for your exceptional work this season. You are a true professional, and we are incredibly lucky to have you dance with and alongside us.

 

Much Love,

Emily Runkle + Melissa Lineburg

Meet the Company

EMILY RUNKLE, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR + COMPANY ARTIST

Message from Emily - 

Now that this is our third year of The Maryland Nutcracker, it's most certainly  an official "tradition”! Thanks to ALL who have made this possible. Our community at BE is bigger than anyone can imagine, and stretches from anyone who's praised us by word of mouth or donated an empty box to be used for our prop department. We see you and we appreciate you.

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I'd like to thank:

My Synergy fam- Jen, Katy, and all of our amazing teachers and collaborators for providing and maintaining such a wonderful home for Ballet Embody. 

My parents- Pam and Dave Runkle- if you see them, give them a hug! They're a huge reason I have the courage and drive to choreograph and run a dance company.

My husband- for putting props and sets on wheels, for occasionally being my dance partner and for all of his support and brainstorming sessions and intellectual property since 2019. ;)

My students- teaching you and watching you perform is a joy. May you always give light to the world the same way that you are tonight. 

Our ProCo dancers- working with you is fulfilling, uplifting, and an adventure. You all contribute so much to each rehearsal, and I hope you know how much you inspire your fellow dancers and audience members. I'm truly honored that you've chosen to dance with Ballet Embody. 

Melissa- thanks for sharing a brain, and putting up with me getting ahead of myself on practically a daily basis. I love being able to reflect with you on Mondays and share the pride that we feel for our group. We did it! Again!

MELISSA LINEBURG, MANAGING DIRECTOR + COMPANY ARTIST

Message from Melissa - 

I’d much rather dance things out that use words to fully embody what I’m feeling and experiencing, but here goes!

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I'm thrilled to embark on our THIRD annual production of The Maryland Nutcracker, presenting an expanded show with our largest company of dancers. The Nutcracker holds a special place in my heart; my journey from a 15-year-old mouse understudying Act II roles to performing as the Sugar Plum Fairy is a testament to the importance of every role. I value each character in Ballet Embody productions, and I'm grateful for the commitment and passion our dancers bring to rehearsals. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to Ballet Embody's success this season—your support is truly appreciated!

I’d also like to thank:

Emily, my partner in creativity, laughs, and love of ballet. Can you believe it!? Never could I have imagined that we’re here, today, presenting this Maryland-themed Nutcracker idea you had mentioned 12 years ago. For our early morning talks, constant support, and Energizer bunny energy - I am so grateful for all of it and cannot wait to see what comes from our continued thinking, creating, presenting, and dancing together.

Josh, my literal partner in love and this thing called life. For being that annoyingly calm human who’s there for me at the end of long, fulfilling days and your never wavering level of support of my dancing, management, and ignoring my lack of completing chores when needed - thank you.

My family, Mom, Dad, and Kels - The people who brought me up in life, dealt with my inability to sit still, and taught me to use resources and ask all of the questions. You have always been and continue to be so supportive of my creativity and the oddities that make me, me.

I am constantly awed and inspired by the amazing things our company of artists are capable of. Your curiosity to push boundaries and to see where your technique, artistry, and intuition can take you - just wow. Without each of our past, future, and current dancers, the company would not be what it has become nor where it is today. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for trusting and having patience with us on this journey.

Our audiences, donors, volunteers, supporters, followers, anyone I have absent-mindedly left out - Thank you so much and please enjoy the show!

Professional Company

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Ellen

Bast

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Falkner

Discher

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Max

Maisey

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Madison

Bonvissuto Ryan

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Kristen

Faraclas

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Jessica

Markiewicz

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Lacee

Buckholz

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Erik

Hoffman

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Maya

Richard

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Rebecca

Dunphy

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Emily

Jarrett

Student Company

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Madilyn

Conroy

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Ainsley

Rockwell

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Julia

Latko

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Arianna

Schanberger

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Isabella

Nalewak

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Lauren

Schreyer

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Marissa

Potocki

Supporting Cast

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Rachel

Hultquist

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Mica

Poppek

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Gabrielle

Johnson

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Caela

Storck

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Isabelle

Kuadey

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Camden

Zepp

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Reece

Pollack

Playbill Advertisements

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Season Sponsors

Ballet Embody is grateful to many for helping to make The Maryland Nutcracker a possibility. This production would not have been possible without support from:

 

Our dancers

Our donors

Our volunteers

Our stage crew

Matt Ryan and Falkner Discher for managing the Livestream of The Maryland Nutcracker 2023.

 

Click here to see Ballet Embody’s Season Sponsors.


 

Costumes Curated and Provided by

Bluebird Dancewear, Emily Runkle, Melissa Lineburg, Jessica Markiewicz, Company Dancers

 

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation online through our fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas.

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