Young ABT dancer returns to dream role in ‘The Nutcracker’

Trinity Mijares as "Clara" in The Nutcracker

Rarely do dancers have the opportunity to perform their dream role. But talented 13-year-old Trinity Mijares will live out this dream for the second time, as she returns as the lead role of Clara in “The Nutcracker.”

Born in San Francisco and now residing in Costa Mesa, Mijares said she was inspired to pursue ballet when she first saw “The Nutcracker” at 3-years-old. At a young age, she set her sights on performing the role of Clara, and is thrilled to return in the principal role for the second time with American Ballet Theatre (ABT). 

Trinity performed last year in Alexei Ratmansky’s “The Nutcracker” under the direction of Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie and Regisseur Susan Jones. She will return to the center stage on Dec. 9-18 at Segerstrom Hall at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. 

Congratulations on reprising your dream role of Clara in this year’s “The Nutcracker”! What does it mean to you to return to this lead role?

I’m so excited and honored to be performing Clara with American Ballet Theatre and getting to experience it again. It’s always so exciting to perform onstage, but performing with a professional ballet company and dancing with professional ballerinas is so surreal. It’s still a dream come true.

Every artist brings something different to the table. What would you say you bring to the role of Clara that is unique?

I love being able to perform Clara because I get a chance to share my interpretation of the role through my acting especially. I also get to share my love for dance and performing for the audience while I take them through the story. I hope to make them feel as if they’re on the stage and experiencing it with me.

Are there any new elements in this year’s “The Nutcracker”?

Since I’ve had experience with the role from last year, I now find ways to make a scene better and give it more meaning. I also try to find ways that I can surprise the audience and also myself so I can present a more exciting performance.

What are some challenges you have faced in this role?

The challenge with this role is acting and staying true to the character Clara while also performing.

How has your confidence grown since you performed as Clara last year?

I have definitely grown more comfortable with doing this role. Since I was able to perform the role last year, I’ve become more confident in the choreography and my acting has matured but has also melded to the role of Clara. Now I’m able to find different and better ways to improve my performance.

Can you share your thoughts on this year’s cast? Who are the standouts, and what makes them special?

I’m once again so excited to be performing with the ABT company and with some of my favorite dancers. I’m especially excited to be performing with some of the principal cast that I’ve previously shared the stage with last year. 

James Whiteside will be returning to his role as Nutcracker Prince this year after his injury that occurred at our last Nutcracker show together last year. He injured himself during the Grand Pas de Deux and wasn’t able to finish the show. I was in the wings in so much shock and crying, but I had to compose myself to finish the ballet. I’m so happy for him that he gets to perform this role again with Isabella Boylston.

In your experience, how is ABT’s “The Nutcracker” unique from other productions of the classic story?

The American Ballet Theatre version of The Nutcracker is one of my favorites. Not only do I enjoy Mr. Ratmansky’s choreography but I love the storyline (since it’s slightly different from the traditional version).

Two of my favorite scenes are the Snow scene and Grand Pas de Deux. ABT’s Nutcracker Pas de Deux is one of the most difficult pas de deuxs, but when executed well, it’s so entrancing and magical and I can just get lost in it. I hope to be able to perform it someday.

The Snow scene is also one of my favorites to both watch and perform. I love being able to dance alongside the company in this scene and also tell the story to the audience. It is unique compared to the other, more traditional Snow scenes.

What are your next goals that you hope to achieve as a dancer?

I would like to pursue a career in ballet and dance with a professional ballet company. I would like to perform in Nutcrackers and other ballets as a professional. My current favorites are Don Quixote and Romeo & Juliet.

‘The Nutcracker’

Where: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive,
Costa Mesa

When: Dec. 9-18, times vary

More info:

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