Letters to the Editor

Eleanor Runiewicz and Will McCullough were featured dancers in this year’s production of the Nutcracker at Swarthmore Ballet Theatre. Photo by Kristen Herzel

Eleanor Runiewicz and Will McCullough were featured dancers in this year’s production of the Nutcracker at Swarthmore Ballet Theatre. Photo by Kristen Herzel

Another year; another outstanding performance

To the Editor:

I just had to share a few words about a wonderful happening, right here in Swarthmore!

The mother and daughter choreography team of Lori Ardis and Amber Flynn has been regaling us with full-length performances of The Nutcracker at Swarthmore Ballet Theatre since 1993. That’s two and a half decades of Nutcrackers, two dozen Claras, and a football field of tulle and dreams. Each year’s Nutcracker is choreographed on the dancers, every interlude lovingly crafted to exploit the talents of every single performer.

But one thing remains the same. SBT’s Nutcracker never fails to capture the simple wonder of a child at Christmastime.

From the tiniest party guest to Herr Drosselmeyer, every single member of this year’s ensemble danced his or her heart out. Every corner of the crowded stage was host to smiling faces and funny vignettes, as each dancer urgently engaged in telling us the classic story.

This year the role of Clara was danced by Eleanor Runiewicz, a consummate soloist who took down the house with her hapless shepherdess in last year’s Nutcracker and danced the Coppelia doll to perfection this spring. It was lovely to see this character actress let her hair down (literally) as a lighthearted and expressive Clara. Nowhere did Runewicz shine more than in her pas de deux with partner, William McCullough, as her Nutcracker prince.

Other standouts in the first act were the vivacious Lily Hodges, as Clara’s mischievous little sister, the Snow Queen and her cavalier’s pas de deux, danced by Grace Hodges and Kevin Gardner, in a performance so smooth it looked practically effortless, and Anna Morreale dancing the Royal Rat. Morreale has a dynamic way of taking the stage that commands the audience’s attention. In the second act she danced the Sugar Plum Fairy with a crystalline perfection that embodied the haunting music, and the same discipline we saw when she danced Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty.

In the second act, Clara and her prince were regaled with dances from sweets all over the world. Especially enjoyable were Maia Virgil and Donn Guthrie in a revival of last year’s shockingly difficult but wildly popular Arabian dance (originally danced by Guthrie and Si), and Rose Hodges and Kevin Gardner in a delightful Chinese dance that showcased Gardner’s incredible jumps. Anna Si and Donn Guthrie performed a pas de deux as the Dew Drop and her cavalier with the elegance and abandon we’ve learned to expect from them.

From the shepherdesses to the flowers the audience was enthralled with hardly a peep from even the tiniest spectator. And when Clara returned the Nutcracker to his place at the end we couldn’t seem to stop applauding.

Don’t miss next year’s performance. And, if you’re interested, why not sign up for classes at SBT? Children and adults alike can enjoy professional level classes right here in Swarthmore. Check out their website at www.SwarthmoreBalletTheatre.com!

Carrie Piccard

‘Find a way to mediate and resolve…’

To the Editor:

I am saddened by the letters concerning HEADstrong that appeared in The Swarthmorean of December 9th. I can’t recall ever seeing such vitriol, such pugnacity in these pages.

The fairness of the Council’s decision and the wisdom of going through with the residence are not the point. People of goodwill can — and should — find a way of mediating and resolving disagreements without descending to anger, accusations and chilling sarcasm (truly the tearing of flesh).

The corrosive tone of these letters reflects a shameful deterioration in public discourse that accelerated during the course of the election campaign. These Swarthmorean letters are not a unique phenomenon — the utterances of the contenders for the presidency, on both sides, were loaded with hostility, disrespect, and ad hominems. They reflect what I fear we have been becoming. There has never been such an onslaught of verbal hostility and the unrestrained venting of people’s rage. And now, polls show a dramatic increase in hate speech and the acting out of hatred.

Hopefully, mature voices and our innate sense of decency will prevail, and be strengthened as we absorb the spirit of Christmas and Hanukkah.

Rob Dreyfus

Charity begins at home

To the Editor:

Linda Reed (in her letter of December 2) asks “Has Swarthmore changed?” As a resident of 60 years, I can answer that with a resounding “yes!”

From “out-of-towner” train commuters parking all day on our streets, to Borough Council granting a zoning accommodation to more “out-of-towners,” would be a few of the changes.

Linda mentions money in her letter. The only money in this situation is the money Swarthmore loses in tax revenue.

The comments of Ms. Reuther and actions of Mrs. Colleluori (she cut short the conversation with the neighbors and walked out of the hearing while the neighbors were expressing their concerns) are what you would expect from “out-of-towners.”

Swarthmoreans care about their neighbors and resent bullies. If only Council felt the same.

Nancy W. Mudrick

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