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Enjoy the Magic of the Nutcracker with Rockland Youth Dance Ensemble This Year

Enjoy the Magic of the Nutcracker with Rockland Youth Dance Ensemble This Year

RYDE's Nutcracker 2021 will have in-person and livestream performances this year. Here's what you need to know.

Coupe Theatre Studio’s nonprofit dance company, Rockland Youth Dance Ensemble, is bringing the magic of Christmas back to audiences this year with a live performance of The Nutcracker. For many, the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without a trip to see Tchaikovsky’s classical and inspiring ballet, beloved by audiences all over the world. RYDE’s annual Nutcracker performance, under the artistic direction of Diane Frankel, has become a cherished tradition for thousands of Rockland County patrons each December. 

Rockland Youth Dance Ensemble was created to offer opportunities for students to develop their creative talents through education and the performing arts. For almost three decades, RYDE dancers, ages 7-18, have become successful performers in regional theater, national companies, Broadway productions, and dance- and theater-related professions.

This is RYDE’s 42nd season performing the holiday classic, with an impressive 125 students dancing in multiple casts. Last year, performances were limited to video streaming, which makes the return to stage especially thrilling. The dance company has faced difficulties such as students not able to attend rehearsals due to quarantining, and a reduction in the amount of audience members allowed due to social distancing rules. However, Meghan Holt who is playing this year’s Snow Queen, says “the excitement of the performers, looking forward to sharing their production with a live audience, can be felt in every rehearsal!” 

“As a parent, I am anxiously awaiting the return of RYDE's Nutcracker to the stage at Rockland Community College and being able to watch my daughter dance the role of Snow Queen,” says  Dawn Holt, Meghan’s mother. “At the same time, I appreciate how careful the entire production team is being with the students and audience (in respect to COVID precautions). The Rockland Youth Dance Ensemble's Nutcracker is a huge part of our entire family's Christmas tradition.” 

RYDE Creates a Memorable Holiday Performance for All 

The Nutcracker tells the story of Clara, a young girl who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve and wages a battle against the evil Mouse King. This year Clara is being played by Alessia Cividini, whose mother Nilu describes her reaction to being selected as “jubilation and excitement immediately followed by a sense of responsibility to put in the hours and hard work. Nilu says she knows Coupé historically delivers a unique and memorable Nutcracker performance, which makes “the sacrifices as a family worth it when you hear your daughter report on the several hours per rehearsal day as being “AMAZING!!” This is a tribute to “Coupé’s professional production of the show, which comes alive on stage every year,” Nilu explains.

Meghan echoes the sentiment: “Learning this role is one of the most difficult, yet rewarding things I’ve ever had to do. There’s a sense of dignity around RYDE that encourages other students to follow by example. From your first Nutcracker, to your last, you have something enduring to be proud of.” 

When asked to sum up his daughter’s experience practicing for her role as the Sugar Plum Fairy, John Sciorra simply says, “it is always a thrill to play any part in RYDE’s production of Nutcracker, but even more exciting to be playing Sugar Plum now that we’re back on stage. This production is part of the holiday tradition for dance here in Rockland County.” 

When is RYDE’s The Nutcracker being performed?

There are six live performances being held this season: Friday, Dec. 10 at 7pm; Saturday, Dec. 11 at 12pm, 3:30pm, and 7pm; and Sunday, Dec. 12 at 12:30pm and 4pm. 

There will also be video streaming options for each performance.  

Where are the performances being hosted? 

Performances will be held at Rockland Community College Cultural Arts Theater, 145 College Road, Suffern.

How much are tickets for RYDE’s The Nutcracker

Tickets are $25-$28 for the in-person performances. For those interested in streaming the performance from home, access is $25. 

Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 866-967-8167. 

What safety precautions are in place for ticket holders?

RYDE’s objective is to keep all audience members, performers, staff, and volunteers safe while attending or participating in The Nutcracker 2021. Anyone entering the building for a RYDE production must show ID & proof of vaccination or negative COVID test within the past 72 hours. All audience members, staff, volunteers, and children must wear a mask at all times. 

Learn more at, and follow RYDE on Facebook and Coupé Theatre Studio on Instagram.

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Kate O'Sullivan

Author: Kate O’Sullivan is an editor for For the past 24 years, she has taught ELA to special education middle-school students and for the past 15 years she has been planning fun after-school and weekend activities for her three children in and around Pearl River. What better way to combine her two passions than researching and writing about fun, local events?! See More

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