Focus-The Nutcracker

Published 12:15 am Sunday, August 30, 2015

Maria Whaley with the Ashland Regional Dance Theatre, of Ashland, Ky., performs auditions for the upcoming Nutcracker ballet.

Maria Whaley with the Ashland Regional Dance Theatre, of Ashland, Ky., performs auditions for the upcoming Nutcracker ballet.

Kylee Robinson wrapped the pink satin ribbons of her well-worn toe shoes over and over her ankles just like the pros she hopes to dance with this December.

In about two months once again the Moscow Ballet will dance the Great Russian Nutcracker across the stage of the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland.

And Kylee wants to be there with them. That’s why she and her fellow members of the Ashland Youth Ballet spent Wednesday evening auditioning for that chance.

If chosen the dancers will take a crash course in choreography from a member of the Moscow troupe.

“She will go over it in 30 to 45 minutes twice,” AYB director Maria Whaley said.

Then Whaley will fine-tune the steps.

“This depends on your ability to carry it off,” Whaley told the students. “To make it look technically correct, make it look like what it needs to look like.”

Rehearsals will be weekly until the night of the performance when the Moscow company appears only hours before show time. That will be the first time pros and students meet —and the first time they try on their costumes.

“It is a really cool experience,” Whaley said. “When you dance behind them, you can lose your focus. There’ll be a Cossack jumping 6 feet in the air.”

It also means spending after-school and weekends perfecting each movement.

“It is a lot of work and it can be stressful at times,” she said. “But once you get ahead, it is worth it. And we can promote dance for the region.”