WALLINGFORD — Students at a local dance studio performed in “The Nutcracker” with the Moscow Ballet Saturday at the Oakdale Theatre.
More than 20 ballet dancers, ages 5 to 16, performed for the third year with the Moscow Ballet in a production of the “Great Russian Nutcracker.” Students at the Fusion Dance Center, 21 North Plains Industrial Road, practiced for weeks, according to Kayt Messina, owner and director of the studio.
“It was great. We’re always nervous, you never know what can happen in a performance...we were holding our breath,” Messina said. “It was a magical experience.”
The girls were first invited to dance two years ago as part of the Moscow Ballet’s Dance with Us program. Auditions were held in August and rehearsals began in September.
Dancer Renee Royes, 15, said the experience was exciting.
“They really prepared us...we were so comfortable dancing on stage,” Royes said.
Royes said the preparation was nerve-racking but the performance itself went well. For the first time this year, Royes and several other dancers participated in the “party scene,” which involves dancing along with the professional dancers.
“It was almost like speaking a whole different language,” Royes said, “But (the professional dancers) helped us along the way.”
Autumn Christensen, 14, also performed side by side with the professional dancers in more complex choreography than last year, she said.
Last year, “I was in it but I didn't really get to interact with the dancers,” Christensen said. “Saturday I got to hold hands and dance with them on stage.”
Julia Ludovico, 14, said she had an incredible experience, adding it was really “cool” to be on stage, surrounded by ballerinas.
Reegan Lynch, 10, said it was her third year participating in the production and added she is grateful for the opportunity. “I had a really good part and got to meet more people,” Lynch said.