Dancers prepare for Nutcracker

Published 12:13 am Thursday, November 8, 2007

Even though the oldest of the five leads in the Natchez Ballet Academy’s production of “The Nutcracker” is only 17, between the five of them they have almost 50 years experience.

Performances of “The Nutcracker” will be Nov. 15-18.

This year’s performance will feature guest performers from the Natchez Little Theatre in the opening scene, Nutcracker director Mignon Reid said.

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“They are loaning us five gentlemen,” she said.

In all, there are 40 students in the production, and each student plays two roles, Reid said.

There are some obvious benefits for students of ballet, Reid said.

“There is the fitness aspect,” she said. “For the ballet dancer it teaches poise. It teaches responsibility and discipline.”

That is exactly what Catherine Myers, 14, who alternates as Sugarplum Fairy and as an Arabian dancer between performances, likes about the art.

“I like the discipline, the creativity and the coordination it takes,” she said. “It develops your stamina.”

Rebecca Myers, 12, who plays Clara and is a snowflake on alternate nights, went so far as to compare it to a sport.

“You have to force yourself to work your way up to a certain point,” she said. “It can be a lot of work.”

But Randa Morace, 12, who plays the same roles as Rebecca Myers, said she liked the sport because it doesn’t often involve injuries.

“It’s not a sport where you get hurt,” she said.

Molly Feltus, 14, who plays Dewdrop, said she likes it because not many people do ballet

“It’s unusual,” she said. “You don’t find many people who do ballet in this area.”

Taisey Doucet, 17, who also plays a Sugarplum Fairy and Arabian dancer, said she has stuck with ballet simply because she enjoys it.

“We moved here when I was nine, and a friend of my mother’s recommended it,” she said. “I tried it and I have loved it ever since.”

And for at least one of the girls, her ballet training has possibly translated into a future career.

“I want to study sports medicine and maybe work with one of the big ballet companies somewhere like New York City,” Catherine Myers said.