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Real Family Plays Fictional Clara’s Family in Hartt School’s ‘The Nutcracker’

Kerri-Lee Maryland (right) and her husband Kirt and their daughter Katalina will appear together in 'The Nutcracker' at the University of Hartford. Courtesy photo

A family from Avon will dance together in the Hartt School Community Division’s performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ at the University of Hartford in West Hartford.

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For the first time, the on-stage family at The Hartt School Community Division’s (HCD) The Nutcracker ballet will actually be – a family!

Kerri-Lee Mayland, best known as an award-winning veteran NBC Connecticut news anchor, and her husband, Kirt, will dance alongside their daughter Katalina, 11, who plays the leading role of Clara.

“I have danced as a ‘Special Guest’ in the party scene in the Nutcracker for quite a few years now, and Kirt always said that if Katalina were to be cast the role of Clara, he’d dance too. Well, she’s Clara and he’s keeping his promise!” said Kerri-Lee Mayland. “Dancing together has truly been such a rewarding experience and it’s something we never even imagined we would share as a family! We feel so grateful to be part of this!”

Kerri-Lee Maryland (left) and her husband Kirt and their daughter Katalina will appear together in ‘The Nutcracker’ at the University of Hartford. Courtesy photo

Kirt plays the role of Clara’s father and makes his dance debut in the opening scene with Kerri-Lee, Clara’s Mom, and Katalina. Getting the chance to be Clara has been a dream of Katalina’s since she started dancing at Hartt when she was 2.

“To my knowledge, we’ve never had a whole family perform together like this, and we’re thrilled,” said Sarkis Kaltakhtchian, Hartt School’s Artistic and Educational Director. “I specifically choreographed HCD’s Nutcracker production for our students and their families. It is a unique and very special experience to have our HCD families share the stage together, each year. What a memorable occasion to share in the beauty of dance while celebrating the magic of this holiday season. I wish everyone to leave the theater filled with love, joy and wonder in their hearts.”

Tchaikovsky’s glorious score provides the magical backdrop for this full-length, family-friendly annual holiday production. The enchanting story of Clara, her Nutcracker Prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy is beautifully staged, skillfully choreographed, and performed by the HCD dance department with stunning costumes and impressive props.

Performances will take place from Friday, Dec. 9 through Sunday, Dec. 18 at the Alfred C. Fuller Music Center’s Millard Auditorium at the University of Hartford in West Hartford. Tickets are available online here.

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