The annual Family & Community Ritual that Marks the Beginning of the Holidays.
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The below note comes via Melissa Heslep, one of Boulder Ballet’s principal dancers. She describes what it’s like to dance her role in the Nutcracker and highlights some of the differences between classical and neoclassical ballet. ~ Katelyn Burgess, Boulder Ballet.
When being cast for a role such as a Classical ballet it opens the floodgates not only based on a dancer’s technique, but the emotion behind the step that creates the storyline. In The Nutcracker—what we are working on now—I’ve been cast as a grown-up Clara. She’s transformed from adoring her Nutcracker Doll, to falling in love with the Nutcracker Prince who saved her from the evil Rat King.
In most Classical ballets there is always a hero and a villian. That not only takes the technical part to a deeper meaning as a dancer, but for the audience as a whole. As for a Contemporary or Neo-Classical ballet, the movements are a different way of expression, because sometimes there is no storyline to run off at all.
~ Melissa Heslep received her training at the School of Orlando City Ballet for 13 years under the direction of Beatrix Aldana, and spent her summers training with teachers including Luba Gulyaeva, Mark Spivak, Valeria Sinyavakaya and Veronica Aldana. She performed with the student company until 2001, and upon graduation was accepted into the 2002 Youth America Grand Prix finals in NYC. In Orlando, she has performed with Russian Ballet under the direction of Vadim Fedotov and has spent the last five seasons with Central Florida Ballet under the direction of Vasile Petrutiu. She has also had the opportunity to travel as a guest artist for many venues in the United States. Her repertoire includes classics such as The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and The Nutcracker, as well as contemporary works. This is Melissa’s first season with Boulder Ballet.
Photos: Matthew Helms and Melissa Heslep in costume for the Nutcracker Pas de Deux.