It’s that time of year again! We busy staffers and interns working upstairs are being serenaded by Tchaikovsky’s melodies and I personally have loved being here for all the excitement! There’s never a dull moment here at BalletMet during Nutcracker season!
One of the most fun aspects of The Nutcracker is the fact that over 100 student dancers of all ages perform with the company dancers each year! Some have been participating for many years, and others are dancing in the show for the very first time. However, whether they have been doing it for years or are experiencing the fun and excitement of dancing in The Nutcracker for the first time, each student takes away happy memories and each student has their own story to tell.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of talking to some of the student dancers in the show, and they were kind enough to share with me what it’s like to audition, some of their favorite things about the show, and how it feels to perform with a professional company.
My first interview was with Sarah Wilson, a Pre-Professional student here at BalletMet.
How long have you been dancing with BalletMet?
How long have you been doing Pre-Pro? What does that involve?
-I’ve been doing Pre-Pro for 2 years. Last year was my first year. It’s basically all day-I’m home-schooled so I do classes on top of rehearsals every week. I’m trying to get through my junior and senior year this year.
Do you still have to audition for The Nutcracker?
-Yes, everyone does
What does the audition process involve?
-You come in and fill out a registration form and then they always measure you for height. You don’t get to pick what you audition for-you get what you get. We do warm-ups after we get our height measurements, and then we audition. They usually make up new stuff for us since we already are familiar with The Nutcracker, that way we still have to think about what we’re doing. The audition lasts an hour and a half to about an hour and forty five minutes.
Do you get nervous?
-No-not really anymore-you just go in and do it. “I still want to do my best”. I still always go in and make sure my hair looks nice. I want to be professional.
Do you have a favorite piece?
-I like “Arabian” because it’s different. It’s not exactly your typical ballet.
What pieces are you dancing this year?
-“Arabian” and “Soldier”
What piece did you do last year?
-“Flowers”-I got to do it with the company twice.
When did rehearsals start?
-Auditions were the 2nd week of September-we started rehearsing the 3rd week of September. We start with Soldiers first. There are three casts for everything-I started Arabian with the pre-pros weeks ago.
So you were Clara? Can you tell me a bit about that? How old were you? What was it like to get your letter?
-Well, I got to be Clara twice. The first time I was just Clara-I was 12 years old and I was really excited to get my letter. Now they send out emails, but when I got it they sent me a letter in the mail, which was really exciting. We went to Buffalo, New York that year to dance the show and so I was Clara there too. My older sister was also Clara. The second time, I was Clara, a party girl, a party mouse and one of mother ginger’s children. One of the girls got hurt so they kind of threw me into it. It was a lot but I did it!
Do you have a favorite costume?
-I love the costumes for Flowers. They’re just so beautiful! Last year I got to wear the purple one which is my favorite since purple is my favorite color!
Do you have any favorite or funny memories from performing in The Nutcracker?
-Sometimes the Nutcracker we use on stage would be broken already-so sometimes whoever was playing Drosselmeyer or someone would say something funny on stage to make light of the situation or make it funny for the audience. The party scene conversations are always funny too because those are all improvised.
Do you have a favorite family holiday tradition?
-My family and I usually go to my grandma’s house for Christmas Usually everyone in my family comes to see me in The Nutcracker and we go out to dinner after.
The other student I was able to interview was Laserik Ross, who will be playing Fritz this year.
How long have you been dancing with BalletMet?
-I have been dancing with BalletMet for 3 years.
What is the audition process like? Do you get nervous? Do you do anything special to prepare?
-The audition process starts first with all of the boys and then the girls. When the boys go in Mrs. Yo gives the younger boys or boys smaller than her a combination and then the boys larger than a different combination. When I first tried out for Nutcracker I did get a little nervous but not anymore. Something I do something special before I audition is get into character and go over dance moves that I need.
What is it like to play Fritz? What was it like to find out you got the part? How did you find out?
-To me playing Fritz is very fun because you get to be in the naughty and nice scene, I get to do more stuff in the party scene and I get to do sneaky bad things in the party scene also. When I found out that I was Fritz I was excited and happy and couldn’t wait to go to rehearsal. I found about being Fritz through a letter.
What is your favorite thing about playing Fritz?
-My favorite part about being fritz is being in the family scene.
What is your favorite Nutcracker piece?
-My favorite Nutcracker piece is “Ginger”.
Is it cool to perform with the professional dancers in the company?
-It is really cool to perform with the professional dancers in the company because it makes the ballet seem even more real.
Do you have any funny/favorite memories from dancing in The Nutcracker?
-One of my funny memories from dancing Nutcracker was it was the closing show and a company member (Drosselmeyer) was supposed to get mad at Fritz and instead of flopping his cape he did like a turn/jump/flopping his cape and made a noise and the whole cast was trying not to laugh on stage even me.
Do you have a favorite holiday tradition and/or what is your favorite thing about the holidays?
-A Holiday tradition I have is to have a huge feast on Christmas just like Thanksgiving and my favorite thing about the holiday is receiving presents.
Come see Sarah, Laserik and over 100 students perform with the BalletMet company dancers in The Nutcracker, opening TONIGHT and running through December 26th at the Ohio Theatre!