Studio for the Dance Arts

Serving Southern Maine and the New Hampshire Seacoast

The Dance Annex

Assaf Benchetrit began his dance and music studies at the Rubin Academy for Music and Dance in Jerusalem, Israel. Upon graduation, he danced with the Jerusalem Dance Theater, the Panov Ballet, and later with The Israeli National Ballet Company. During his military service, Assaf received the “Remarkable Dancer” prize from the Israeli government which allowed him to continue dancing while serving. After completing his military service, he arrived to United States to dance with companies such as The Joffrey, Metropolitan Classical Ballet, Alabama Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Portland Ballet and Gelsey Kirkland Ballet. Throughout his career, Assaf toured through England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and numerous other countries. He performed lead roles in the majority of renowned ballet productions such as Swan Lake as Siegfried, Don Quixote as Basilio, La Corsaire as Ali, La Bayadere as Solar, Coppelia as Franz, Sleeping Beauty as the Prince, the title-role in Petrushka, and a number of George Balanchine works including the title-role in Apollo, Donizetti Variations and the Nutcracker as Cavalier. Assaf holds a joint B.S in computer science and B.F.A in dance degrees with academic honors from Montclair State University, and an M.F.A degree in dance from Hollins/ADF/Frankfurt. He was a faculty member at Yale University, Columbia University (Barnard College), Rutgers University, Montclair State University, and Raritan Valley Community College.


Consider Becoming a Nutcracker Sponsor! 

Now booking corporate and individual sponsorship for our 2018 Nutcracker program. 

Advertise in our program while supporting the arts.  2017 sponsors included York Harbor Inn, When Pigs Fly and other local businesses.  For more information contact:

Julie Hebb at:

Over Thanksgiving weekend, The Dance Annex Studio for the Dance Arts will return to Kittery’s Star Theatre for opening weekend of its third annual production of The Nutcracker. This timeless holiday classic returns to the stage for five shows, featuring a brilliant cast of students, local professionals, and special guest artists. Seacoast families are invited to begin their holiday seasons with The Nutcracker. This magical production is sure to delight audiences of all ages!

Saturday, November 24 at 2pm and 7pm

Sunday, November 25 at 2pm

Saturday, December 1 at 2pm and 7pm  
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or the box office at the Kittery Community Center,120 Rogers Road in Kittery, 207-439-3800.

Henoch Spinola, a native of Cape Verde Islands, began his classical training with Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theatre, graduating from the Young Dancers Program in 2006 to become a full company member 2007. After leaving JMBT, Henoch began working with Prometheus Dance from 2011–2012, along with other dance companies local to Boston. He then moved to New York City to dance in a work by Itzik Galili at the Metropolitan Opera from 2013-2014. He recently completed the Master of Fine Arts program within the Creative Practice: Dance Professional Practice Pathway at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.

​Ruth Whitney is a Boston based dancer who received her early training and performance experience with Boston Ballet, studying under Tatiana Nikolaevna Legat and Laura Young.   She has performed regionally and internationally with companies including Boston Ballet, Teatrul De Balet Sibiu, and most recently as a principal dancer with Festival Ballet Providence.  Her classical repertoire includes Odette/Odile, Aurora, Juliet (in Pavel Rotaru's Romeo and Juliet), Marguerite (in Gianni Di Marco's Lady of the Camelias), Firebird, Titania (in Di Marco's Midsummer Nights Dream) and principal roles in The Nutcracker, George Balanchine's Apollo and Agon, Etudes, Carnival in Venice, Grand Pas Classique, Paquita, Les Sylphides, as well as featured roles in contemporary works by Gianni Di Marco (including Orpheus and Euridice with the Boston Baroque), Mihailo Djuric, Lorraine Chapman, Viktor Plotnikov (most notably Orchis and Coma), and Andrew Kelley's 1:2 "An Intimate Abstraction", among others.  In 2005, Ms. Whitney graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English and Dance from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.  She now teaches privately and has taught classes regionally including at Jeannette Neills Dance Company, Boston Ballet, Elite Feet Artists Company and Wilmington Dance Academy where she now heads the ballet program.


Naomi Sawyer received her early training in ballet, tap and jazz under Kay Welch in Lyndonville, Vermont, with summer intensives at Broadway Dance Center, the Joffrey ballet in NYC and the Boston Ballet School. As a student in Boston Ballet’s training program, she performed in Boston ballet’s Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty, and went on to perform with the Orchesis Dance troupe while attending her physical therapy studies at the University of Vermont. She taught classes and performed liturgical dance under the direction of Cheri Williams, and continues to provide consultation and workshops on Dance Injury Prevention. Naomi works as a physical therapist and is a homeschooling mother of two. She dances for the sheer joy of it. She has been performing with the Northeastern Ballet Theatre since 2013 under the direction of Edra Toth with soloist roles in Le Corsaire, Sleeping Beauty, and Nutcracker, and several lead roles including Wilhelmina in Dracula, Anna in The Snow Queen, Katrina in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as well as Sugar Plum Fairy.

The Nutcracker