Homemade sweets at the Strom
Rockport — Dance teacher Vanessa Knause grew up performing in the “Nutcracker” ballet but when it came time for her to stage a holiday show with her students, she wanted to take a different route — and the route between her home in Union and Studio RED in Rockland proved to be key.
“It’s a long drive! One day, my oldest daughter, Madeline, was talking about the game ‘Candy Land’ and we thought, what about a show,” Vanessa Knause said the week after Thanksgiving at the conclusion of a rehearsal.
After talking about the idea with her children in the car, she brought it to the studio, which is on the second floor of Rockland's historic Odd Fellows building on School Street. The Studio RED — Reaching youth through Education in Dance — students, who range from pre-school to adults, started coming up with candy-related characters and soon, “Candy Land Suite” was born.
First produced two years ago at the Camden Opera House, “Candy Land Suite” will see its second incarnation Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8 and 9 in the Strom Auditorium of Camden Hills Regional High School, Route 90, in Rockport. Saturday’s performance is at 4 p.m. and Sunday’s is at 2 p.m.
“It’s super exciting to be there! The stage is two times larger and there are enough seats for our audience,” said Knause, balancing her 8-month-old son Basil on her hip.
Basil is one of two “studio babies” who will be the youngest cast members. They play the Bon Bon Bebes of King Kandy’s court and will be escorted on stage by the Nutter Butter Nannies. The “Candy Land Suite” characters are imaginatively conceived and named — audiences will meet Queen Frostine and the Frostinettes, the Duchess of Donuts, Gramma Nut and the Acorns, Los Chocolateros and the Kit Kat Kickers and more. Genres will include ballet, jazz, acrobatics, tap (Caramel Crème and the Toffee Toe Tappers) and hip hop (B-Girl Brownie and the Pop Rockers).
A young duo named Fred and Ginger (August Knause and Leilani Myers) provide a bit of narrative as they journey through the world of sweets. The choreography is all original, created by Knause and her fellow Studio RED teachers. They and the cast, which numbers 65, have been working on the holiday production since September. Although the Strom is the largest venue the studio, which is in its fourth year, has appeared in, “Candy Land Suite” is not its biggest show; one spring recital boasted 150 dancers.
As is any production involving lots of children, “Candy Land Suite” is a family affair; thus, the Sunday performance will be followed by a cast-and-families potluck. All of Knause’s children, two daughters and two sons, are in the show and she is as well, in the Ice Princesses lineup. “Candy Land Suite” runs a family-friendly hour-fifteen, with intermission; a shorter sampler will be presented Dec. 5 at Owls Head Central School.
Tickets at the door will be $12; they are available in advance from Studio RED for $10. For advance tickets, contact Knause at 701-1757 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or email@example.com.