The Carolina Snowbelles are headed to the nation’s capital to debut their new holiday show, A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas, on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m on the prestigious Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The dance troupe has been rehearsing this one-hour show since August, their most ambitious and comprehensive performance to date. A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas will feature precision tap and jazz, vocal performance, ballet and audience interaction. Throughout the performance, audience members will experience the Snowbelles’ impressive precision dance and spectacular costuming.
“Our creative team thought it would be a fantastic challenge for the company members age 10 and up to not only learn the unique style of precision dance, but to also experience creating a one-hour production and travel to D.C. and NYC to perform,” said Cutlip.
On Dec. 2, to further prepare for their performance at the Kennedy Center, the Snowbelles had a dress rehearsal for A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas. Family and friends were invited to watch the performance.
The performance has required a lot of hard work and dedication from both the dancers and the creative team, and a lot goes on behind the scenes to create the final product.
Brad Parquette, ballet director and choreographer, wrote the story behind A Snowbelle Christmas, giving the show an original, personal touch. Cutlip called Lindsay Masland, a dance captain of The Carolina Snowbelles, her “right-hand person.” Cutlip also attributes the success and confidence of her dancers with mothers April Greene and Jennifer Cook, who are responsible for obtaining costumes and organizing dress changes backstage to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Cutlip said the dress rehearsal helped to build a lot of confidence among the creative team and the dancers in order to really move the show forward.
“I was so proud of the girls because they’ve worked so hard in the studio and to actually have an audience and put real costumes on and be on a real stage — it was just marvelous,” Cutlip said. “It was so nice to finally put it all together and it makes me and my creative team even more excited going to the Kennedy Center knowing we actually had a run-through in front of friends and family.”
The Snowbelles will be in D.C. in a matter of weeks, fueling excitement for the dancers. Some members have never been to D.C. or New York City, so the experience will inevitably result in the memory of a lifetime.
“The girls are so excited,” Cutlip said. “Some of them know about the Kennedy Center; for some of the other younger girls, this will be their very first introduction to the Kennedy Center, which is obviously world-famous, especially here in America. So, they are about to have a treat that they don’t even know about.”
Cutlip describes the Kennedy Center as a beautiful theater, in which the lobby is full of glamorous red carpet, a setting that will gratify the dancers’ hard work and preparation.
While the trip to D.C. and New York City may be a new experience for some of the dancers, Cutlip and her team came up with ways to keep the girls comfortable and in the holiday spirit while traveling.
“On the way back from New York to Boone, the theme on the bus is Polar Express,” Cutlip said. “So we’re all going to wear our Christmas pajamas and have our secret Santa exchange on the bus.”
At the Kennedy Center, the Snowbelles will have a stage all to themselves. Cutlip said they would be the only ones in the venue at that particular time, giving them the perfect opportunity to truly showcase their hard work and efforts.
Family, friends and supporters are welcome to attend the free show at The Kennedy Center, but if travel isn’t possible, the performance will be streamed online at kennedy-center.org/video/live.
Donations for the Snowbelles are still being accepted and encouraged. If interested in donating, click here. Any contribution is welcomed.
The creative team behind The Carolina Snowbelles helps to maintain organization and promote the final product of a wonderful performance.
Cheryl Cutlip, Director and Choreographer
Brad Parquette, Ballet Director and Choreographer
Lindsay Masland, Dance Captain
Celeste Crowe, Production Stage Manager
Amanda Sherrin, Assistant Dance Captain
Tiffany Schrepferman, Lighting Designer
Mike Blackwood, Music Engineer
Sherisa Oie, Stage Manager
Sarah Pinnix, Vocal Coach
Jennifer Cook, Wardrobe Director
April Greene, Wardrobe Director
Arthur Rasco, Photographer and Videographer
Without the cast members, A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas would be impossible. These dancers put in hours upon hours of hard work, determination and passion.
Raylee Cline, Ada Cline, Ali Cook, Bailey Grace Cook, Ava Crisp, Josie Crisp, Michelle Crisp, Celeste Crowe, Ava Cutlip, Cheryl Cutlip, Haley Daniels, Ashlyn Edmisten, Hattie Rose Greene, Kati Mac Greene, Madi Greene, Ella Gregory, Katie Hanna, Isabel Holt, Grace Jones, Lily Jones, Lindsay Masland, Emma Pinnix, Grace Sears, Amanda Sherrin, Sophie Speckmann, Savannah Spencer, Madelyne Street, Carly Watson
About The Carolina Snowbelles
The Carolina Snowbelles, a program of The Project Dance Foundation, is a precision dance company formed in 2015 in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Precision dance incorporates tap and jazz styles while teaching skills of teamwork, self-esteem, mentorship and community involvement. Their mission is to equip and encourage dancers age 10 and up in this unique style of dance through training and performing opportunities.
The Carolina Snowbelles are a 100% scholarship-based program and participation is obtained through an audition process solely based on merit. The troupe trains 3 hours weekly and appears in local parades, as well as community and theatre performances.
The company is directed by former NYC Rockette and Assistant Choreographer of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Cheryl Cutlip. Cheryl began her Rockette career in 1993 and retired from the line in 2008. Since moving to Blowing Rock from Manhattan, Cheryl has been able to link arms with patrons like Karyn Kennedy-Herterich, local community foundations, Appalachian State University and area families who together have built a 28-member dance company.