Oakland Ballet surprises Emeryville elementary school with 'Nutcracker' performance

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Four dancers from the Oakland Ballet performed at Anna Yates Elementary School in Emeryville Friday morning.

This is one of eight to ten schools in the Oakland area that will have the ballet brought to them this holiday season.

The dancers explained ballet to the children and performed a few dances from "The Nutcracker."

"It's absolutely powerful because everybody in our community doesn't have that opportunity to be able to go to the theater in Oakland, and to have it right here is even more empowering," said Principal Eddie Scruggs Smith.

The dancers not only performed. They also explained ballet to the kids and told them the story of "The Nutcracker". Their "critics" gave them very good reviews.

"It was amazing watching the dancers do all that stuff. When she was with "The Nutcracker" and they did all those flips it was a amazing. I wish this would happen all the time," said fourth-grader Revina Ahferom.

The ballet's artistic director said his goal is to turn the children into art lovers. He admits he and his dancers get something out of the appearances, too.

"It gives us a big thrill. Yesterday at Manzanita Elementary School this little boy told me this was the best show he had ever seen. Those moments you take with you, that's beautiful," said Artistic Director Graham Lustig.

His generosity doesn't end here. Next Friday, Lustig will host 2500 kids at "The Nutcracker" dress rehearsal at Oakland's Paramount Theatre. The show opens to the paying public on Saturday, Dec. 22.
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