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Kelly Smith, Published December 18 2009

‘Nutcracker’ a holiday treat

It’s as traditional as “The Nutcracker Ballet.”

Each year, hundreds of kids line up to see Bonnie Haney and her dance company put on the magical Christmas classic before it opens to the public.

And just as customary is a donation from a Secret Santa or two who help ensure that, each year, kids get to see the holiday show.

“It was something we normally wouldn’t be able to do,” Central Cass Elementary School Principal Chris Bastian said. “We’re very thankful.”

An anonymous donor bought the 300-plus tickets so the kindergarten through fifth-grade students from Casselton and the surrounding area could see the show Thursday.

The donor covered the cost of the 325 students’ tickets, an estimated $1,000.

“It gives the kids an opportunity … to see what it is,” said Haney, whose Moorhead-based dance company has, for years, put on a special performance for area students before opening to the public.

On Thursday, 2,000 young students from Central Cass, Hawley, Moorhead, West Fargo, Fargo and Barnesville schools all got to see the show.

“Just to see the kids laughing … it’s such a good feeling,” Haney said. “They just love the music.”

For the past 15 to 20 years, she said, up to three generous locals have donated money so students can attend the show.

“This is their thing to do for kids,” she added.

Now, while the Central Cass students may never get to personally thank their Secret Santa, the magical opportunity isn’t lost on them.

“This was just a wonderful blessing,” Bastian said. “It’s a wonderful, wonderful opportunity.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515