The Kansas City Ballet puts on quite a show with its “Nutcracker” at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, but another holiday spectacle is there to behold out in the lobby.
So many little girls in poufy red velvet and satin strutting proudly in their black patent leather shoes. So many smiling parents and grandparents introducing yet another young family member to the holiday tradition.
Even the Sugar Plum Fairy would be jealous of all the sweetness. Here’s a sampling from the opening weekend matinee.
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Mary Freeman, 7, of Mission Hills (left) and her cousins Margaret, 6, and Cecelia Wilkerson, 4, of Leawood just cannot get in enough hugging before the show. This is Cecelia’s first time at “The Nutcracker,” and she’s happy to wear the dress her big sister wore there two years ago.
James and Stephanie Webster of Leavenworth say 3-year-old Annaleigh knows “The Nutcracker” because she has watched a cartoon version. Her favorite song? “Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” she says. Um, we meant in “Nutcracker.” Oh. “The Sugar Plum Fairy.” This is the first time for her and Teddy Bear at the ballet.
Once their grandkids turn 4, Gayla and Jim Spurlock of Lenexa start bringing them to the ballet. “Every year they get dresses alike for ‘Nutcracker,’ then wear them through the holiday season,” Gayla says. This year, Lyndee Spurlock, 5 (left), and cousins Katelyn Speck, 6, and Gracyn Speck, 9, are showing off their new outfits from Macy’s. The Spurlocks’ grandson is 3 now, so next year he’ll get his turn at the show.
Seven-year-old Grace Shibel of Prairie Village agrees that her fur-trimmed ice-blue dress from Von Maur looks like something Elsa from “Frozen” might wear. So it’s fitting that Grace’s favorite part of the ballet is “when the snow comes down.”
Every year, Grandma Nancy Day of Shawnee goes to “The Nutcracker” with daughter Amy Culp of Lenexa and granddaughter Lucy, 4. “It’s our tradition for Grandma’s birthday,” Amy says. “Her birthday is tomorrow.”
Cousins Julie Townsend, 8, of Olathe (left), and Lilly Wright, 6, of Eudora, got new dresses for “Nutcracker.” Julie’s is from Dillard’s; Lilly’s from Gymboree.
“This is her first ballet, so she really dressed up,” Judy Jennings of Stanberry, Mo., says of granddaughter Charlotte. Charlotte’s mom, Megan, found the dress online through Zulily.
Ten-year-old Kenneth Siebert of Loch Lloyd (center, wearing Ralph Lauren) studies dance with the Kansas City Ballet and expects to be one of the “Nutcracker” kids onstage next year. His family decided to get a preview this year. They are (from left) his aunt Meisha Sherman of San Diego, big brother Matthew, mom Kiisha Siebert (wearing all BCBG), dad Tony and 8-year-old brother Brody.
Amelia Hainaut of Overland Park, who brought daughters Anya, 4, and Amina, 2, swears she didn’t coordinate the family’s outfits on purpose, but they all shine in black and gold.
“I just kind of wanted something fancy, but not too fancy,” says 9-year-old Sawyer Clark of Shawnee, explaining his bow-tie, button-down shirt and red sneakers. He came with his mom, Tina Clark.
Mom Kristen McFarren says she bought holiday dresses for daughters Morgan, 8 (left), and Sophie, 10, at Target. Bonus: “I had Starbucks when I shopped.”
Amalie Gile of Kansas City got this Christmas coat at Dillard’s, perfect for her family’s annual “Nutcracker” tradition.
This is the first time Christine Whetstine of Merriam has brought her 4-year-old son, Liam, to the ballet. She found his little suit at H&M. Her dress is from Anthropologie, and the shawl from Nordstrom.
Jason Martin of Lenexa and daughter Karissa, 11, match in Christmas red.
“The Nutcracker” continues at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts through Dec. 24. For more information, see kcballet.org or call 816-931-8993.