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'The Nutcracker' tradition - locals try out for annual production
Gayla Landing, 7, listens intently to directions given by dance instructor Shay Morgan during auditions for the regional performance of the "The Nutcracker” ballet on Sunday at the Averitt Center for the Arts. - photo by EMILY EISENHART/Special
    The Statesboro Youth Ballet’s fifth annual production of “The Nutcracker” held its first set of auditions at the Averitt Center for the Arts in the Emma Kelly Theatre in downtown Statesboro on Sunday.
    The local production of “The Nutcracker” is sponsored by Sea Island Bank, and features local dancers of all ages in this celebrated holiday ballet.
    Shay Morgan, a local dance instructor, has been directing and choreographing the regional production since 2005.
    “It’s really nice to have a local performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ right here in Statesboro. It’s always great to have a professional group come in, but when we use local children and adults in a performance, the community comes to support the event because it’s fun to know people in the show,” Morgan said.
    Morgan also said the 2007 local production of “The Nutcracker” performed to a sold-out audience each night.
    According to Melinda Roell, a contracted development consultant for the Averitt Center, this year’s performances will be held during the week prior to Thanksgiving, on November 20, 21, 22 and 23.
    The last chance to audition for the Statesboro Youth Ballet’s 2008 production of “The Nutcracker” is this today at the Emma Kelly Theatre at the Averitt Center for the Arts. Auditions will be held from 1-6 p.m. and the audition fee is $5.
    “We usually have between 100-150 dancers, anywhere from ages 3-23. We also need adults to participate in the first scene of the play- the party scene. So any adults who are eager to learn a few steps should come give it a try,” Morgan said.
    For more information about 2008’s “The Nutcracker” auditions, visit the Web site at, or call (912) 212-ARTS.
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