BEHS Student Directs the 2021 Dixon Elementary Nutcracker Christmas Show

Kaitlin Verheyen

On December 11th, Dixon Elementary School conducted its annual Nutcracker Christmas show in order to raise money for the Fisher House, a charitable organization dedicated to housing veterans and military families. This year is extra special since the show was directed by a Brookfield East High School student for the first time in history.  That excellent Spartan is none other than 11th grader Kay Bisgrove.

As a Dixon Elementary alum, Kay was first introduced to the Nutcracker Christmas show when she was in first grade and continued to perform in it until she graduated in fifth grade. In middle school, she decided to return and help out by teaching dances to the younger students. By the time she entered high school, many of the previous directors had graduated and left for college. Naturally, Kay was next in line for the director’s chair.

While last year’s production would have been her first as the sole director, Covid-19 had other plans, and the show was pushed to 2021. As director, Kay was tasked with producing the choreography of the main dances and teaching them to the hundreds of elementary schoolers participating in the show. Behind the scenes, she also needed to schedule practice times, receive permission from the school board, and order all of the costumes and tickets necessary.

Kay is also on the Brookfield East dance team, which helped prepare her for the more fundamental directing duties. “It definitely makes the whole choreographing 100% easier,” Kay stated, “because I can just use past knowledge from Spartanettes and from previous shows I’ve helped choreograph.” Although directing mostly solo, she still got tons of support from past and possibly future directors, providing her with plenty of useful advice.

All of this was done with the help of other BEHS students involved in the production, including Kay’s squad of right-hand helpers: Gwen Geissler, Nina Anglim, Jenna Michael, Eliana Klick, Sarah Dressler, and Craig Wasenski. Not to mention, the generous cooperation from parents. 

Kay enthusiastically explained “it was just a lot of behind-the-scenes work, with a lot of emails!” She also mentioned that she has high hopes for the younger students who helped out, hoping that they will express the same level of commitment as her and previous directors have. Kay furthers that she “has so much more respect for Ivy [the director before her] and the people before that, who just put in so much time and effort to get this done. And in only three months!” 

Covid-19 also made Kay’s job a lot tougher, as she and other directors had to work overtime in order to ensure the safety and comfort of everyone involved. Student helpers were required to wear masks, social distancing was done by grade levels, and the number of people present at one time was limited. Despite these challenges, Kay and her teammates truly pulled through and delivered an amazing show.

Kay mentioned that although the planning and practicing was not always the most enjoyable, “the kids clearly had the time of their lives, and there were definitely lots of fun moments that made up for it.” She plans to direct it again next year, hopefully with a larger team of helpers, and can’t wait to continue watching these young kids evolve into bigger and better roles.