Fordham Jetés Put on a Stunning Performance of the Nutcracker


From choreography to intricate costumes, the Jetés have put on a passionate Nutcracker performance. (Courtesy of Juliette Rowe/The Fordham Ram)

On Saturday, Nov. 20 and Sunday Nov. 21, the Fordham Jetés performed their classic rendition of the Nutcracker. As a club, the Jetés perform this show every year as Christmas approaches. The entire show lasted almost two hours and was easy to follow because the dancers were very expressive, telling the story through their movements. The level of detail in the show was impressive, from the intricate costumes to the beautifully designed set, and all of the ensembles were well-choreographed and synchronized. My two favorite scenes were the snow dance and the coffee dance, and it was clear in every scene that the performers were experienced dancers and put a lot of energy into the show. 

The Jetés hold class three to four times a week, with a requirement for members to attend at least two. Once parts were announced after auditions, some dancers picked up extra rehearsals for their scenes. Sophomore Lauryn Williams, who played Clara in the Sunday performance, estimates that the dancers with the most scenes spend up to 10 hours a week rehearsing for the show. With this being such a large time commitment, I asked her why she would choose to be a part of the Jetés rather than apply to the Alvin Ailey School of Dance at Fordham Lincoln Center. She responded, “I decided to focus on my academics in college and I didn’t want a BA in dance … the Jetés fit easily into my schedule, and was a fun and low-pressure environment to practice.”

For as much of a commitment the Jetés are, getting a degree in dance is even more so, and since that was not her goal, Lauryn found the Jetés worked better for her as an activity outside of her schoolwork. Most of the Jetés practiced ballet formerly at companies in a competitive environment, and joining a ballet club as opposed to a formal program is a way for them to enjoy their hobby without the stress and expectations competition brings.

As a student-run club that puts on productions such as the Nutcracker, the Jetés need to be on top of their game at all times. Time management comes easily to many of the dancers, being that most of them come from a dance background. Williams said, “In high school, I would be practicing six days a week, so coming to college it was easy to stay motivated because the Jetés is relaxed compared to what I was doing before.” 

The discipline that the dancers come to college with enables them to put on shows like the Nutcracker, and camaraderie in the group keeps them motivated. Putting on the show and running the club is a very collaborative effort, and each dancer I spoke with stressed to me how imperative each person in the club is to putting on the performance. In the Nutcracker, each scene was brought to life by a student choreographer. Choreography positions are open to each dancer once they have been a part of the Jetés for one semester. In addition, the executive board carries out and plans weekly activities. President Colette DeBenedittis said, “I like being in an administrative role, but in that role I still stand behind other dancers in rehearsal and learn choreography from them.”

 The Nutcracker would not run as professionally as it did without the hard work of each dancer. For now, the season will wind down a bit before the next show this spring, when Jetés plan to premier Peter Pan during their 2023 Spring Showcase.