For the students of Centennial Youth Ballet, Mini-Nutcracker season is already in motion; started off this season on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017 with this seasons round of Nutcracker auditions.
This year will be the 36th year of performances of the Centennial’s Mini Nutcracker. Under the direction of Mr. Matthew Christensen, students of Centennial Youth ballet will perform an adapted version of Tchaikovsky’s ballet, The Nutcracker.
Described as a performance that is, “Designed to introduce children to ballet as a performance art, this longstanding local Nutcracker tradition is an abbreviated, narrated version of Tchaikovsky’s ’Nutcracker Suite Ballet’ and features young dancers from the parks program.”
The Sugar Plum Fairy will be performed by Paige Higgins. The performance features two professional dancers this year. The Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier will be performed by David Flores and Drosselmeyer will be performed by Tony Montalvo.
Each student in the Centennial Youth Ballet program that wishes to perform in the Mini-Nutcracker, is required to audition. These auditions are divided into two groups, the advanced and the intermediate/beginner students.
For the advanced students, the audition consisted of class with of more character and pointe work. School director, Katherine Wilkening, explained younger dancers were ”taught a bit of choreography because it brought out hidden qualities and allowed the teachers to know the students better.” Ms. Wilkening is a native of Franklin, TN and has been with the Centennial Youth Ballet since 2014. Previous to her coming home to Tennessee, she spent 17 years living and working in New York.
When asked if she and the other teachers were looking for specific
attributes during the audition, Mrs. Silkening responded that they were looking for a few different things, “We were looking for how accurate dancers are … musicality, personal expression, how they react to mistakes, corrections, and attitude.”
She also stressed the importance of knowing how it is to work with the dancer; that the difference between having a work ethic verses becoming frustrated could be a deciding factor.
Although the the school already knows their dancers, Mrs. Wilkening, the school director, still finds importance in this audition. “If a dancer is going out in the real world to audition they need to know some skills to audition with.” she responds when asked about the necessity of the audition.
Mrs. Wilkening stated that these skills include adaptability, quick learning, and quick thinking. She also included that even if students are not going to dancing field, these skills would be important for whatever profession they are going into.
The audition was designed to be as close to a real audition the dancers might do if they were trying to get into a summer dance intensive. However the dancers did notice that there were a few differences.
Because the teachers know their students so well, they were able to challenge them at their level, instead of opting for easier combinations to learn the levels of the dancers. One student, Caitlin Narion commented that, “There was more complex combinations in the beginning of the class.”
During the audition, the teacher, Christensen, explained that this was to check that the dancers were paying attention to the details of the combination.
After the audition, most dancers felt good about how they did. However, as in all auditions, some dancers were anxious about mistakes they had made. Results were posted Tuesday the 22nd, and many of the dancers were excited for their roles.
Rehearsals started the weekend of the 26th, and the dancers are already off to work learning their various roles. With preparations for the performance already underway, it’s promising for another brilliant year of Centennial’s Mini-Nutcracker.
To purchase tickets for this year’s performance, all tickets will be sold through Brown Paper Ticket’s website or over their phone service.
No ticket sales go through Metro Parks for this performance. A select few tickets will be sold at the door of Harpeth Hall auditorium, however, these tickets sell very fast.
Tickets go on sale to the public
Monday, Oct 30, 6 am.
Friends of Metro Dance Membership
Pre-Sale begins Friday, Oct 27, 6 am.
Friday, December 1, 7 pm
Saturday, December 2, 2 pm & 7 pm
Sunday, December 3, 1 pm