Girls and their dolls attend holiday event

By Cathi Sasportas - ReminderNews
South Windsor - posted Thu., Nov. 14, 2013
Eight-year-olds Maya and Sophia enjoyed making their origami Christmas trees at the Wood Memorial Library American Girl Holiday Event. Photos by Cathi Sasportas.
Eight-year-olds Maya and Sophia enjoyed making their origami Christmas trees at the Wood Memorial Library American Girl Holiday Event. Photos by Cathi Sasportas.

Dozens of little girls and their American Girl dolls attended a special holiday event at the Wood Memorial Library on Nov. 10, which included an origami workshop and excerpts from “The Nutcracker” performed by the Connecticut Concert Ballet. While girls between the ages of 6 and 12 were welcome to choose from two different sessions, parents were not included. They were, however, welcome to browse a collection of hand-made doll clothes made by Charlene Dean, if they wanted to get in a bit of early holiday shopping.

The girls had the opportunity to give their dolls a makeover, if they wanted to.  Hairdresser Sylvia Milne, who said she likes to give back because her granddaughters often enjoy events at the library, donated her talents to work on the dolls' hair. "The smile on the kids' faces when they come back and get their dolls makes it worth it," she said.

The girls also learned how to make origami Christmas trees and decorated them.

The focal point of the program was the abbreviated production of “The Nutcracker.”  Connecticut Concert Ballet Artistic Directors Wendy Fish-Lawrence and David Lawrence brought a small group of their many dancers to the library so the girls could see a few scenes from the holiday standard.  Fish-Lawrence said she and her dancers like doing these kinds of outreach programs.  "They gear us up for the season and allow us to flex our performing muscles," she said.  "Plus, it's fun to dance in these intimate settings and to allow the audience to see things so close up."  She said many new students come to their school as a result of seeing one of these outreach programs, as well.

Fish-Lawrence told the girls about all the work that goes into staging "The Nutcracker" every year and talked about the storyline of the ballet. After the performance, she showed the girls a few basic ballet steps and then invited them and their dolls to join the dancers in a short dance. They received a candy cane and a bookmark reminding them when they could see the complete performance of "The Nutcracker," which will be held the weekends of Dec. 14-15 and Dec. 21-22.

Program manager and librarian Jan Grace said planning for the big day began last spring.  She said the library has been putting on two American Girl events for each year, with the holiday event being just for the girls and a mother-daughter tea held in the spring.  Events like these, she said, help them fulfill the mission of the library.  "Our mission is to present educational and cultural enrichment to the community, and I think they got that today," she said.   "Some of these girls may never have seen 'The Nutcracker' and maybe they will now want to go see a production or maybe they might want to try ballet."

The Wood Memorial Library has many other programs planned throughout the holidays.  To view their schedule, visit the library website,

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