In the main rehearsal room at Texas Metropolitan Ballet school in Killeen, toy soldiers marched in formation as ballerinas swirled in blue and pink dresses and danced with mice in red tunics. It was one of the final rehearsals before the school’s premiere of the holiday classic, “The Nutcracker.”

Three shows will be performed in Killeen with two shows beginning Saturday at the Temple Cultural Activities Center.

In Killeen, the shows run Dec. 16-18 at the Killeen Arts & Activities Center.

When the school launched in July, Randall Marks and his wife and co-founder, Jeanne Marie Marks,

wanted to do the show but knew they needed help.

“Some dance schools wait a year or two,” said Randall Marks, “but we dove in and these parents have been unbelievable. There’s no way we could have done it without them.”

Among the stage parents working on the show was costume designer K.C. Powers. She and about eight other parents made almost 40 costumes in less than two months.

“I love seeing the dancers shine when they are happy in their costumes,” Powers said.

The Killeen Arts & Activities Center was eager to stage the show, but the theater posed a technical problem — no fly area to lower sets for scene changes.

Enter another stage mom, Darlene Lovelace with her bachelor’s degree in theater who designed three revolving sets.

“Each set measures 8 feet by 10 feet and rotates, revealing a different scene on the vinyl panels, like the land of sweets and snow scene,” said Lovelace.

A company in California transferred the scenes drawn by artist Jesse Lawrence to the vinyl panels.

“It’s good to see people in the area with unique skills come together,” Lawrence said.

In the center of the storm during rehearsal was Jeanne Marie Marks making sure the cast was ready to go.

“It’s a little crazy getting the kids organized and into costumes,” she said, “but it’s worth it to see them perform in the show.”

While some directors change the “The Nutcracker” to make it their own version, Randall Marks stays true to the original story. And he hopes the audience appreciates the show’s quality of technique.

“The technique is going to be much more than what people are used to seeing here,” he said.

The Markses’ demanding, yet caring, approach is appreciated by all the young dancers, and especially by Hailey Lovelace, 12, who performs the challenging lead role of Clara.

“This experience is amazing,” she said, “and I wouldn’t have reached this point without them.”

If You Go

“The Nutcracker”

Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m., Cultural Activities Center, 3011 N. Third St., Temple,


Adults are $12; Children 12 and younger are $7.

Dec. 16 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 17-18 at 2 p.m., Killeen Arts & Activities Center, 801 N. Fourth Street

$10 child/student, $17 adult, $45 VIP includes pre-performance hors d’oeuvres and wine on opening night, a seat for the performance, plus meeting the directors.

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