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A Winter's Eve's broad, cultural appeal and heartwarming message a huge hit!

On December 16, 2023 Hope Garden Children's Ballet Theater presented "A Winter’s Eve" to packed audiences at the Bender JCC in Rockville. The production was truly a celebration of celebrations, uniting a Christmas classic with an adaptation of a British holiday story, to present broad cultural representations of the joy and love of the holidays. The dancers, mostly students of Essence Studios, of Poolesville, ranged in age from six to eighteen, and stunned the audience with their grace, energy, charm and story-telling ability.


In act one HGCBT Artistic Director and Choreographer Claire Jones interpreted Raymond Briggs' illustrated classic "The Snowman." In Jones' version, a young boy discovers that his snowman has come to life, and he shows his chilly companion what life is like in his home, where they meet teddy bears, tin soldiers, music box dancers and balloons, and marvel at the wonderful ornaments on a Christmas Tree.

The snowman then takes the boy outside to experience the world of snow, where they meet dancing snowmen, featuring tap and hip-hop. They are then swept away by wind, and are whisked across the globe, marveling at a celebration of Diwali in India, Hanukkah in Israel, and Kwanzaa in West Africa, all presented with authentic dance created by several gifted guest choreographers.

Act two featured excerpts from the timeless and traditional ballet, Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” as envisioned by Choreographer Justin Rustle. The dancers transport the audience into Clara's dream, to experience the Land of the Sweets brilliantly danced by Cecilia Zeranski as our Sugar Plum Fairy, Sava Brizhik as the Cavalier, Alarica Delongchamp as Clara, and Elizabeth Tchorni as the Flower Queen. The dancers and audience journeyed to lands around the globe, including Russia, Spain and the Arabian peninsula, through exquisite and timeless classical ballet.

Audiences loved the variety of dance, and many were moved by both stories' shared of sense of joy, and the global diversity in how we celebrate love and light!

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"Nothing shy of spectacular!"
A review of "A Winter's Eve" by Joy Zucker-Tiemann

This show & the dancers' performance was nothing shy of spectacular! And this is coming from someone who didn't have a child in the show! I wouldn't have missed it for the world & I'm only sorry the entire town didn't see it!! This should be a MUST on everyone's list of things to do next year! I kid you not!!!! For those wondering why... because the essence of dance & ballet is to tell a story with no words through an art form that is so poetic in its movement that it will transport you to another world, teach & touch your heart and much like music is a universal language; dance done right uses music as it's welcome mat to the soul! This production included all of that plus messaging in scenery & lighting that was as iconic to the spirit of the holiday's giving season as any message I've ever witnessed on a stage. This show had me in tears, clapping along and on my feet at the finale! BRAVISIMO and Mazel Tov! 


HGCBT feels it is essential to make our productions significant and familiar to our entire community. In order to provide accurate representations of a variety of holiday celebrations, we have partnered with four guest choreographers to work with our dancers to provide dances that are entertaining and authentic. We hope you enjoy their work!

Hope Garden Children's Ballet Theatre

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©2022 by Hope Garden Children's Ballet Theatre. Created with

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