‘Dance-Along Nutcracker’ lets kids step along to a holiday classic

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CHICAGO — For more than a decade, the Dance-Along Nutcracker has drawn thousands of families to the Chicago Cultural Center.

A holiday tradition of music and dance, Hayley Lampariello was just six when she first came to Dance-Along Nutcracker to watch. Now, she’s one of the stars.

“It’s so great just to see the kids have such a fun time and they all love to dance and you can just see how happy it makes them,” Lampariello said.

The music, provided by the Lakeside Pride Symphonic Band, gives kids and performers the tunes to get it done inside the tight quarters.

“It’s definitely different than the big theater we’re used to,” Kayla Schmitt with Ballet Chicago said. “But since it’s a solo, it’s easy to adjust.”

It provides these younger sugar plum fairies and mouse kings with role models and culture.

“Exposing children to the arts at this age is super important,” Host Mia Park said. “Without the arts… it’s a way of story telling it’s a way of framing a narrative but maybe expressing themselves through music or dance it’s a really important tool to give them.”

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