Press Releases


Date Released: 11/7/2006

Students benefiting from the Adopt-a-Dancer program at Purchase College will be appearing in the upcoming Purchase Dance Corps production of Nutcracker ’06, December 1-3 at the Purchase College Performing Arts Center. The 13 dancers in the program, who are students in the School of the Arts, Conservatory of Dance, will be performing various roles in the ballet.

The Adopt-a-Dancer program is sponsored by the Friends of Dance, and matches donors with Conservatory of Dance students who need tuition assistance and who have exhausted their own resources, including family and student contributions, grants and loans. The students are chosen by the faculty and Dean Carol K. Walker because of their talent and strong potential to become professional dancers upon graduation.

Some students are sponsored by one donor, while others receive tuition assistance from several donors whose combined contributions meet the student’s remaining costs.

This year five seniors, five juniors and three sophomores have been “adopted.” They include senior Peter Chamberlain who was adopted by Marjorie Isaac of Bronxville, N.Y. Peter will be performing the role of the Spanish dancer in Nutcracker ’06. In the Purchase Dance Corps Spring ’06 Concert he danced the lead part of the “groom” in Les Noces. He also  toured with the Purchase Dance Corps, performing at the Kennedy Center in May and in Hong Kong in June.

Dr. Kenneth Gang of Rye Brook, N.Y. is one of two donors who have adopted James Johnson, a junior who will be dancing the roles of the Soldier Doll and the Russian Dancer in Nutcracker ’06. James danced in the world premier of Lauri Stallings’ The Great quiet in the Spring ’06 Concert and toured with the Purchase Dance Corps last spring in Hong Kong.  This is his third year dancing in the Nutcracker at Purchase.

Pat Jacobs, Rye Brook, N.Y., co-chair of the Friends of Dance, has adopted sophomore Maura Ryan. Maura worked with the Princeton Ballet in choreography by Susan Jaffe before coming to Purchase. This year she is dancing the roles of Snowflake, Marzipan and Dewdrop in Nutcracker ’06. She also performed in last year’s production as a freshman.

Fay Burger of Greenwich, Conn. is one of five donors who have adopted junior Jaime Rodney, who will be dancing the role of the Arabian in Nutcracker ’06. He was selected to travel to Hong Kong with the Purchase Dance Corps last spring to perform both Valentine and The Great quiet. He also studied in Montreal last summer at the “Professional Project” on a full scholarship.

Performances of Nutcracker ’06 are Friday, December 1 at 7:15 PM; Saturday, December 2 at 2 PM and 7 PM; and Sunday, December 3 at 1 PM and 5 PM. Tickets are $45, $35 and $25 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 914-251-6200 or visiting

Purchase College, State University of New York is located at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, N.Y.

Nutcracker ’06 features choreography by the Purchase College School of the Arts, Conservatory of Dance faculty, with artistic direction by former New York City Ballet dancer and Conservatory ballet faculty member Bettijane Sills of White Plains, N.Y. The Purchase Dance Corps will be joined by New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Ashley Bouder as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Joseph Phillips of the San Francisco Ballet as her Cavalier. The role of Clara will be danced by Connie Bowen of Old Greenwich, Conn., Annie Corrao of Thornwood, N.Y., and Catherine Hurlin of White Plains, N.Y. The 70-member Purchase Symphony Orchestra will perform the musical score, conducted by Jesse Levine. The cast will also include over 100 local children.  

The Nutcracker ‘06 ballet is based on the classic tale by E.T.A. Hoffman and set to music by Peter Tchaikovsky. On a very special Christmas Eve, a young girl receives an unusual gift from her adored godfather, a little Nutcracker doll. Later that night, she returns to the parlor to cuddle her doll and suddenly finds herself immersed in a world of danger and magic, as her Nutcracker Prince comes alive to battle armies of giant mice and lead her through the snow, into the Land of Sweets.