The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The Nutcracker prances out again

Joshua Housing
Members of the Nolte Dance Academy dance during rehearsals for this years production of The Nutcracker at the Englert Theatre on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. The Nutcracker opens on Dec. 4 an runs until Dec. 6. (The Daily Iowan/Joshua Housing)

Nolte Academy’s annual presentation of The Nutcracker adds in artwork from Maroger Fine Arts.

By Gracey Murphy

[email protected]

Beauty can be found with one flick of the wrist, swish of a brush, or flex of the foot in a pirouette.

This weekend, the Nolte Academy’s rendition of classic ballet The Nutcracker will once again liven spirits in Iowa City.

To incorporate other aspects of art, Nolte partnered with Maroger Fine Arts to bring The Nutcracker to canvas.

Though the original plan was to have artists paint scenes from The Nutcracker on the windows of Nolte Academy, weather led to artists painting on artist quality paper put on display inside Nolte Academy,1619 Second St., Coralville, on Nov. 27. Some of the dancers came out in costume to meet the kids in attendance.

This project has united visual art and dance. Scenes such as “Mother Ginger” and “Sugar Plum” have made their way onto paper. Yvette Jury, the owner of Maroger Fine Arts, has a daughter who takes ballet classes at Nolte Academy. She said the combination of different art forms is important for art.


“Hopefully, this becomes a great tradition to combine dance and visual art,” she said. “People don’t realize it all goes hand in hand with one another.”

Frances Dai, a student at Maroger Fine Arts for the past four years, painted the Chinese theme. In preparation of her depiction, she looked at an abundance of scenes and costumes from The Nutcracker.

The artists, from Coralville and nearby areas including Marion and Cedar Rapids, worked extensively to produce the paintings. Most took more than four hours to create these illustrations, Dai said.

“All of us had a lot of fun just getting together and doing something for The Nutcracker,” Dai said.

Since painting the windows on Nov. 27 was no longer an option, many of the students filled the studio at Maroger Fine Arts to work on their pieces. They had sketches of the window designs, but on short notice, had to complete them on paper. Some artists stayed from the early morning until night.

However, students are not the only artists. Jury painted the Clara piece, and she and her husband collaborated on the Arabian Nights image. Jeanna Holmes, an instructor at Maroger Fine Arts, designed the Nutcracker panel and the Angel scene.

Holmes was first exposed to The Nutcracker in Iowa City in the 1980s, when the Joffrey Ballet showcased it. The show amazed her, and she said she enjoyed painting for the performance.

“I hope [audiences] get a sense of celebration for not just The Nutcracker but for the opportunities that are here in the area,” Holmes said. “I hope they find pleasure when they look at the art.”

Despite the complications, the artists have not faltered in their work. Dai said the weather taught her to be prepared for anything, while Holmes said she believes hiccups fueled artists to go a different direction.

“This project exemplifies the personality of the area and what I hope to see grow,” Holmes said.


What:The Nutcracker

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 & 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6

Where: Englert Theater, 221 E. Washington

Admission: $16-$28.50

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