WALLINGFORD — More than 20 ballet dancers from a local dance studio will perform at the Oakdale Theatre this weekend alongside members of the Moscow Ballet in a production of the “Great Russian Nutcracker.”
“We’re super excited to be involved again this year,” said Kayt Messina, owner and director of Fusion Dance Center. “We were completely surprised by the experience.”
Dancers from the studio were also invited last year to dance as part of the Moscow Ballet’s “Dance with Us” program, which gives ballet students the opportunity to dance with professionals.
Messina said she found out the studio would have another opportunity to participate when she was moving the dance and gymnastics center from North Main Street to its new 5,500 square-foot space at 21 North Plains Industrial Road.
The studio now has double the dance space as well as a full-size recreational gymnastics facility.
“There was a lot involved in a short amount of time because our season begins in September,” Messina said of the move. “The stars aligned and here we are.”
Rehearsals for the performance with the Moscow Ballet began in September for the 26 dancers from Fusion Dance Center.
About 20 dancers from a studio in Massachusetts were also chosen to dance with the Russian ballet company.
“It really was amazing,” said Renee Royea, 14, a ballet student from Fusion Dance Center who performed last year as a mouse. “It feels like a dream because you’re up there with such professionals.”
Though Royea will not be performing this year, she is passing on her experience to younger dancers like Lily Harang, 9, and Skylar Christensen, 8.
“It’s like when you’re playing a role of the Chinese dancers,” Harang said of her role this year in “Chinese Variations” with Christensen.
The dancers practiced the synchronized choreography with dance and rehearsal instructor Melissa Thomas on Monday night.
“They get to go through rehearsals with the Moscow Ballet and they also get to go through costume fittings and it’s just a really fun day for them,” Thomas said.
Emily Rochniak, 9, will playing a mouse in this year’s performance.
“It was really hard to figure out how the positions worked because there were a lot of different counts that you have to work with,” Rochniak said about the challenges of being part of a professional production. “But it was really fun.”
The performance is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m., at the Oakdale Theater.
More information can be found by calling 203-427-5817
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