On a wall at the Newton Performing Arts Center is a painted ?Dance is the only art where we are the paintbrushes.?
With that in mind, the six members of the Bayes family of Newton will be paintbrushes this holiday season as they perform in ?The Nutcracker Ballet.?
The production is put on by the Newton Performing Arts Center. So, the Bayes family, as well as about 60 other performers, will paint up a storm during two performances Dec. 7.
Both parents, Jennifer and Tim Bayes, as well as their four children, Kaylee, 11; Olivia, 8; and twin boys Matthew and Jonathan, 6, will take part in this classic holiday ballet. The event will be at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Newton High School. Tickets, which are general seating, are $8 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12. The center puts on this ballet every two years. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at the studio, which is at the outlet mall in Newton. Call the center at 316-708-1608 for more information.
?(This is) our biggest cast yet,? said Lavonne Vogel?man, business office manager.
The cast includes 65 members.
This is the first year all Bayes family members have been in the ballet. The parents and daughters have been in the production before, but this is the boys? first year to take part. Tim and Jennifer are not formally trained dancers and haven?t taken any classes, but their children have been in various classes at the center. Tim and Jennifer?s training has only been during practices, Tim said.
The Bayes parents became involved in the production this year for several reasons.
?Because the (Nutcracker) costume was made to fit me, I?m doing it again this year,? Tim said. ?They need parents to do it, and there?s not as many that are out here (at the performing arts center) as often as we are. It?s for the kids so they can have their event.?
Tim was the Nutcracker in the show two years ago. He will play the title role again this year, as well as being a Stahlbaum parent; Jennifer will be the other Stahlbaum parent. The Stahlbaums are the parents of Clara, who is one of the main characters, and her brother Fritz.
The ballet is based on the story ?The Nutcracker and the King of Mice? by E.T.A. Hoffman. The storyline is about the Stahlbaums, who have a Christmas Eve party at their home. Clara is given the gift of a nutcracker by godfather Drosselmeyer. Her jealous brother breaks the gift. Drosselmeyer repairs the nutcracker, and later Clara falls asleep with the nutcracker in her arms. Clara dreams of a fight between the Nutcracker and his army, and the Mouse King and mice, according to www.nutcrackerballet.net.
The two Bayes boys will be mice, Kaylee will be an Arabian and Olivia portrays a child attending the party.
During the party scene, parents will perform ballroom dancing from the 1892 time period, which is when the story takes place. One of the artistic directors, Amy Pollard, choreographed a scene where the six mouse boys use tae kwon do, since three of the boys, including Matthew and Jonathan, are taking tae kwon do lessons. The other artistic directors are Kari Lee and Ivy Neal.
Being a mouse in this production seems to run in the family, as all of the children have played the furry creatures at one point.
It seems as though the close-knit family enjoys performing and rehearsing together.
?It?s not that bad,? Tim said. ?When you get in there, it?s fun.?
The boys and their dad are in the fight scene together, and the boys have fun with their father.
?And we have fun with our mommy, too,? Jonathan said.
Kaylee also enjoys the time with her parents.
?I like watching them dance,? she said, sitting between her parents at the center.
?Because we?re not very good at it,? a laughing Jennifer said.
When asked if her parents were funny, Kaylee said, ?Yes.?
Rehearsals, which are on weekends and every other Tuesday, started in Septem?ber. One of the requirements two of the dads had, including Tim, was to schedule rehearsals around Chiefs games. At the center, the boys take hip hop and tumbling classes, and the girls are involved in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, tumbling, modern dance and Irish dance. The girls have been taking dance classes since they were 2 and 3 years old, Jennifer said, while this is Jonathan?s first year and Matthew?s second.
The family isn?t sure they?ll be able to take part in the ballet in Newton again, as Tim is a master sergeant in the Air Force, stationed at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita. His tour will be up in 18 months.
?Then we?ll probably have to move again,? Jennifer said.
They?ve resided in Newton for about four and a half years.
Last year, Tim was deployed to Afghanistan for six months, and Olivia and Kaylee did a duet tribute dance for him, called ?My Hero,? performing it at three competitions in Wichita and at nationals. At the Stage One competition, the girls received a platinum award. Tim returned in time to see the dance at the second competition, but choreographer Hayli Vogelman didn?t allow Tim to watch the dance until it was on stage.
?It was supposed to be a surprise,? Jennifer said.
During the performances, the girls? voices were dubbed over the music. For example, at one point Olivia said, ?Daddy, you?re my hero.? The girls also used Tim?s service coat as a prop.
Before he saw the duet, Tim knew the dance was about him, but he didn?t know it was about his military service.
?It was really good,? Tim said. ?It was a nice surprise.?
?He said it was the nicest dance they?d ever done,? Jennifer said.
When they learned about doing the tribute for their father, the girls were happy.
?When they found out about it, they were excited about it,? Jennifer said. ?It was kind of a nice distraction while he was gone.?
When Tim saw it for the first time, moms in the audience were watching him and getting teary-eyed. The duet was the brainchild of Hayli, who was given a choreography award in Wichita for the dance. ?Hayli is a good kid,? Tim said. ?It didn?t surprise me she thought of putting it together.?
Photos and story by?Wendy Nugent