CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Ballet will dance “The Nutcracker” for one more week at the Belk Theatre, putting the timeless holiday production on stage for audiences of all ages.
For most young dancers, it’s a dream to be cast in any role, let alone as a lead. But for two Charlotte ballet dancers, they’re dancing roles of a lifetime this holiday season.
For Chelsea Dumas, the Sugarplum Fairy comes to life from her head all the way down to her perfectly pointed toes. She’s one of a few dancers performing the coveted lead role in this year’s Charlotte Ballet Nutcracker production.
“Yes, when you’re little girls that’s what you grow up wanting to be,” Dumas said.
James Kopecky dances alongside her in the role of Cavalier, as well as the Snow king.
“All dancers, at a young age, grow up and aspire to be the final role,” Kopecky said. “When you finally get that role, it’s kind of an eye opener and you kind of see your path as a dancer when you hit that point.”
Charlotte’s Nutcracker follows the same storyline as the classic. Clara is taken into a magical world by her mysterious uncle where she meets sugar plums, rat kings, and snow queens, but the magic on stage takes hard work.
Dancers warm up on each performance day with a basic ballet class, then quickly change into their costumes. Once on stage, the dancers see nothing in the audience, but hear everything.
“Sometimes if I come up and I have a show off, I’ll watch and I watch people’s response,” Dumas said. “And the kids can’t take their eyes off of anything.”
Bringing back memories of childhood dreams.
“If it strikes one or two kids in the audience, it’s worth putting ourselves out there at 10 o’clock in the morning or waking up at 6 o’clock in the morning just to get ready for a show like this,” Kopecky said. “So it puts it in perspective if you’re that kid.”