The 70th Annual Kindergarten Nutcracker Performance 2020


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Students dressed up as mice dance in the annual Nutracker performance.

Emily Quinn

The kindergarten Nutcracker performance has been a treasured holiday tradition at Greenhill School for the past 70 years. This year, the 70th annual kindergarten Nutcracker performance faced many new challenges and alterations due to COVID-19.

Kindergarteners are assigned different roles in the performance depending on what classroom they are in. The different roles include mice, toy soldiers, sugar plum fairies, Russian dancers, Spanish chocolate dancers, candy flutes, Chinese tea dancers and flowers.

Usually, the performance takes place in the Marshall Family Performing Arts Center (MPAC), and the kindergarteners each go on stage class by class and perform their different roles by singing and dancing.

This year, due to COVID-19, many changes have been implemented.  Students were not able to perform in front of a live audience, so instead a movie was created for parents and students to watch.

Each class had the opportunity to record their part of the performance in the MPAC for the movie. The performances were very different this year because of new social distancing requirements. Students were all required to wear masks and remain six feet apart at all times. Essentially, students remained in one area, six feet away from their classmates, and did the entire performance with limited dancing and no singing.

“Usually kids are close together, making circles, and they have partners… so we just had to be more creative with the kids having to dance in place,” Preschool and Lower School Music Director Misty Quinn said.

Remote learners also had the opportunity to be part of the show. They were recorded in the MPAC at a different time than the in-person students so that all students were included in the movie.

Despite the unconventional format of the Nutcracker performance this year, parents and students alike were still able to experience something very special.

On Dec. 16, the school organized a drive-in showing of the movie that was created for the students and parents.  They all gathered at a distance in the MPAC parking lot to watch the show. The movie was projected on the side of the MPAC wall for everyone to watch. Everyone remained in their cars, and there was special lighting and balloon decorations to accompany the show.

“It was a great experience, some of the kids were hanging out of their sunroofs cheering, and at the end of the performance the cars were honking their horns for the applause,” Quinn said.