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Holiday classic

North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts to present ‘The Nutcracker’ Dec. 14

December 5, 2018
Pine Island Eagle

For nearly two decades, the North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts has presented one of the signature events of the holiday season, "The Nutcracker" ballet.

On Friday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, more than 300 students, from kindergartners to eighth-graders, will again perform the holiday classic in what has become the largest fundraiser for the school.

Fans of the classic ballet will see the Nutcracker Prince, Clara, Uncle Drosselmeyer, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop Fairy, the Russian dancers and much more, performed by the most talented dancers at the school.

Thomas Millins, NFMAA principal, said not only are rehearsals going great, but ticket sales are strong, with 80 percent of the seats sold for an event that tends to sell out every year.

"This is the ninth year we'll be at the Mann. Our teachers have this down to a science. Everything is so methodically done, planned out in advance, scheduled so everyone knows what's going on," Millins said. "It's like clockwork."

Many of the performers have been in the ballet for many years, moving up through the ranks from little gingerbread kids to the star roles.

Millins, as is the tradition for the principal, will play the role of Uncle Drosselmeyer, his third time in that role.

"We try to do things every year to enhance the part," Millins said, adding the dance teachers try to spice up things each year by having him do something different.

NFMAA has performed the ballet for nearly 20 years. It started out at the school auditorium, which only seats about 500 people. The show became so popular they had to start doing multiple shows, which tired out the students, especially those who played Clara, the main female lead, and the Nutcracker.

The show moved the Barbara B. Mann, which seats 1,800, so the performers only had to do two shows, one for the students at the auditorium a few days before the event, and the other at the performance hall.

Tickets can be purchased at the school between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. and 1 and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. About 300 seats are left.

For more information, go to the school's website at



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