Sandy seems to be the storm that keeps on giving – in all the wrong ways. The after effects of the late October hurricane are still being felt in ways both large and small. Just ask Carol Mamara and Zina Michelle. Thanks to Sandy, just a month before they were to present their annual holiday production in Chappaqua they found themselves without a venue for the show.
The two women are the founder and co-director, respectively, of the Impact Dance Company, a not-for-profit dance group that stages professional-quality productions at community locations several times a year. Their most popular is The Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky’s beloved holiday season ballet. They have staged sold-out performances in Chappaqua the last two years and have for the last three months been readying for this year’s performances that will be this Saturday and Sunday.
In the previous two years they had rented the stage at Horace Greeley High School. This year that venue was already booked and they rented the stage at the Seven Bridges Middle School. Their ramp-up for the production began in September and was going smoothly — until Sandy hit. Soon the number of days that the local schools were closed began to mount up, which, in turn, led to wholesale changes in school calendars as school events were re-scheduled. Unfortunately, that meant the stage was no longer available for The Nutcracker.
“The school offered to find us another date but that simply wouldn’t work,” Carol explains. “We have all of our advertising and notification out and it would be impossible to ask a cast of 50 people and a production team of another 25 to shift to another weekend in this very busy holiday season. We were left high and dry but somehow, as they say, the show had to go on.”
“We were desperate,” says Zina. “We didn’t know where to turn and then the mother of one of the members of The Nutcracker company had a thought. She said there was an auditorium with a stage at Chappaqua Crossing and she agreed to inquire about it. And that proved to be just the miracle we needed. She contacted Stephanie Filkoski in the property management office. Stephanie then brought the idea to David Walsh, the property manager for Summit Development and within less than an hour, we had a new venue – and at no fee.”
For the last two weeks, the Impact Dance team has worked feverishly and the production is ready to be held as scheduled this weekend at 7pm Saturday and 3pm Sunday. Carol says the shift of venue resulted in substantial expenses as the auditorium at Chappaqua Crossing is not set up for stage productions. Special theater lighting and sound systems had to be rented and set up and a special wood floor had to be installed over the carpeting that is on the stage.
“There have been a lot of logistics involved that we normally wouldn’t have had to deal with, but everyone has pulled together and we’ve got a fantastic production for the community,” she says. “The cast ranges in age from five-year-olds to adults. There are a lot of talented people who have studied with us for years. We’re just glad that thanks to Chappaqua Crossing, we aren’t letting our cast and production team down, and that we can bring this timeless production to the Chappaqua area community.”
“None of this would have been possible without Stephanie, David and the Chappaqua Crossing ownership,” adds Zina. “We cannot thank them enough for their willingness to support this program that we do for the community.” Walsh said the owners have continued to make the property available, including as an emergency shelter in the days following the storm. “We are a part of the community and when we can help, we do.”
For information and to purchase tickets call 914-238-3845
(a non-profit organization)