Rockland Youth Dance Ensemble (RYDE) will celebrate 40 years of bringing the beauty of the Nutcracker to Rockland County this December. The Nanuet based nonprofit organization will celebrate the milestone with a party after the 7pm show on Saturday, December 14th which will include performances by alumni from the past four decades. Many of the alumni from RYDE have gone on to perform on Broadway and across the globe.

“The Nutcracker is a family event and one that is anticipated with great excitement all year long, but this year will be extra special. We have the oldest continually running student Nutcracker performance in the United States and that is a huge milestone for all of us to celebrate. We are thrilled that so many alumni have expressed interest in performing and attending,” stated Artistic Director Diane Coupé Frankel. She added, “Every year we hear from people who say our performances rival those they have attended in New York City. We have hundreds of talented students from Rockland, Orange, Bergen, Westchester and Manhattan who participate in the Nutcracker each year and it is a wonderful opportunity for families to partake in a family favorite, stay close to home and experience local talent.”

The performances will be held at Rockland Community College Cultural Arts Theatre at 145 College Avenue in Suffern and the celebration will take place on Saturday in the atrium outside the theatre after the 7pm show. Tickets for every performance are reserved seating, $28 preferred seating, all other tickets $25 when purchased online at beginning October 20th, 2019 at 9:00 p.m. Special tickets will be available for those who would like to attend the party.

Over 220 ballet students ages 7 to 18 will perform in The Nutcracker this year. A number of those dancers are high school seniors and many have performed in the Nutcracker every year for the past 11 years, starting out as angels and with several now playing the coveted role of the Snow Queen, Sugar Plum Fairy and the Dew Drop Fairy. Numerous families have multiple children performing in the Nutcracker this year including families with three siblings dancing. Alumni that will perform will be announced at a later date.

RYDE, a nonprofit organization, was founded to offer a forum for students and emerging artists, in dance and theatre, to develop their talents in a fully integrated environment of education and performance. RYDE performers are students ages 7 through 18 who have accomplished high quality performance ability through their studies in the performing arts. Many go on to dance on Broadway and with prestigious national companies throughout the United States.

RYDE offers an opportunity for children from across the region to participate in the Nutcracker and other performances throughout the year. While many of the students train at Coupé, anyone may audition. In addition to putting on full theatre productions for the public to enjoy, RYDE supports qualified artists in their development of new projects and original performance works and offers Arts in Education workshops and residencies in schools for grades K through 12 and a Master class series for post-high school students. One of their goals is to provide opportunities for underserved students as well as nurture creativity, expand skills toward creative problem solving, explore multi-cultural environments and generate confidence and high self-esteem. More information can be found at their website at

At the helm of RYDE is the famed Diane Coupé Frankel, founder of Coupé Theatre Studio based in Nanuet. Coupé performed on Broadway with some of the world’s greatest talents including Barbara Streisand, Angela Lansbury, and Zero Mostel. She founded Coupé Theatre Studio nearly 50 years ago and, along with her staff, has trained thousands of children and adults from around the New York region. Coupé Frankel believes dancers must be versatile to be successful, so her studio offers everything from ballet, pointe, jazz and tap to musical theatre, hip hop, voice and drama.

Nutcracker Performance Dates and Times:
Junior Company:
Saturday, December 7th 1pm (Narrated) and 4pm
Sunday, December 8th at 1pm (Narrated)
Senior Company:
Friday, December 13th at 7pm (Narrated)
Saturday, December 14th at 1pm (Narrated) and 4pm
Saturday, December 14th 7pm Performance and Gala Reception to follow; special alumni guest performers to be announced
Sunday, December 15th at 1pm (Narrated) and 4pm

Tickets for every performance are reserved seating and can be purchased online or by calling 866-967-8167 beginning October 20th, 2019 at 9:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the theatre for $28 cash if the performances are not sold out.
*Discounted Tickets for Girl Scouts, Special Groups
RYDE offers discounted group tickets ($22) for registered Girl Scouts troops. Tickets must be pre-ordered. For more information, call 845-623-2808. Discounts apply only for registered Girl Scouts. Non-registered adults and others accompanying the troop pay full price.