11 Sammamish youth set to perform in ‘The Nutcracker’
November 10, 2009
By Christopher Huber
As she enters her third season performing with the Pacific Northwest Ballet in “The Nutcracker,” 11-year-old Miranda Stuck is still fascinated and enthused with the entire experience.
From wearing one of the more complex costumes — this year the Sammamish resident plays the Prologue Mouse King — of the production, to learning new moves and meeting the professional lead characters, Stuck, a level-four dancer, said she loves being out on stage.
“I really, really enjoy it and it’s really cool to see backstage and how it works,” Stuck said.
In her role in the show’s opening scene, Stuck tries to trick the Pirlipat in the doll shop.
She said this year she’s been able to give her sister, 8-year-old Charlotte Stuck, some pointers as they prepare for the production’s opening.
Charlotte is in her first season in “The Nutcracker” and plays the Small Servant, which Miranda played her first season.
“I’m really excited because it’s my first year on stage, doing it in front of a big audience,” Charlotte said.
The girls are among 11 Sammamish youth participating in the 2009 Nutcracker, which is put on by the Pacific Northwest Ballet.
The show opens Nov. 27 at McCaw Hall in Seattle and runs until Dec. 30.
“It’s magical every year. It really is,” said Judith Austin, ballet public relations and marketing assistant. “Everyone has their favorite part. It’s a nice family tradition.”
In addition to the Stuck sisters, Katia Jeronimo-Lato, 10, Charlotte Nash, 11, Carola Sacchi, 10, Lauren Zimmerman, 8, and Jamie Cantwell, 10, will perform in the production. Tasia Nash, 16, Alana Wang, 11, Ana Paula Lanzara, 10, and Zoe Groff, 10, will appear in many of the showings, as well.
The local youth are among approximately 200 different character roles cast in “The Nutcracker”, in addition to the organization’s entire company of professional dancers and 37 Professional Division dancers.
All the students are from the organization’s ballet school, according to a Nutcracker press release.
Each performer had to pass a daylong audition Sept. 20, Austin said.
“I think I’m less nervous on stage than in the audition,” Miranda said.
Many of the roles are double- or triple-cast, said Mia Todd, Miranda and Charlotte’s mother. Miranda will perform 15 shows of the 45 showings and Charlotte will appear in 23, they said. Miranda rehearses about three times per week and said it can be a challenge.
Charlotte goes to practice the Small Servant role once a week.
“You have to know exactly when to go at the right time,” Charlotte said.
But being on stage — smiling big in the bright lights — is what it’s all about, Miranda said.
“It’s a big time commitment,” said Todd. “It’s really fun for them to see the professional dancers.”
The Pacific Northwest Ballet version of “The Nutcracker” earned national acclaim soon after its Dec. 13, 1983 premier at the Seattle Center Opera House.
The production is based on the collaborative writing and choreography efforts of the ballet’s founding artistic director and choreographer Kent Stowell and renowned children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are).
The fairytale-ballet takes place at Christmastime in Nuremburg, Germany and revolves around a girl named Clara.
The production is set to Tchaikovsky’s musical composition.
The show runs approximately two hours and includes one intermission, according to the production’s Web site.
As Miranda and Charlotte prepare for the 2009 opening, Todd said they will break out “The Nutcracker” CDs soon and the production’s soundtrack will create the festive holiday mood around the house.
“For us, it’s become a family tradition,” Todd said as she sat with her daughters. “In our house, it’s become so fun.”
If you go
For showtime and ticket information, or for more information about the Pacific Northwest Ballet, visit www.pnb.org.
Reporter Christopher Huber can be reached at 392-6434, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org.