‘Ready to shine’: ABT Gillespie’s youth dancers return to the stage for ‘The Nutcracker’

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Segerstrom Center for the Arts - American Ballet Theatre's The Nutcracker - Hee Seo, Cory Stearns - Photo by Doug Gifford

By Jackie Moe

There is nothing like the joy and excitement of young dancers performing the holiday tradition The Nutcracker every season, but especially after a full year of closed theaters and dark stages. 

ABT Gillespie’s dancers have put in over a year of virtual training, transitioned to social distanced classes, and finally returned to the renowned company’s studios. They are more than ready to dazzle in the annual production of The Nutcracker on the Segerstrom Hall stage on Dec. 10-19. 

The production will feature 47 youth dancers performing alongside the world-renowned ABT dancers for the 6th production at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. Principal children include Trinity Mijares and Brooke Treska as young Clara, Sawyer Sublette and Declan Wilding Cran as Nutcracker Prince, Carson Triplett and MacCallum Simanski as Fritz, and Indiana Foley and Katrina Carney as Little Mouse.

Carney, a 10-year-old ballerina from Buena Park, has been with ABT Gillespie since 2019 and says she has enjoyed every moment of it.  Someday, she would like to dance professionally and perform as Clara in ABT’s future productions, but for now, she is honored to perform as Little Mouse. 

Have you performed in The Nutcracker before? If so, where and when? 

Yes, I have performed in the Nutcracker at Strong Dance Studios from 2016 to 2019

How long have you been dancing? 

I have been dancing since 2015 (5 years).

What does it mean to you to be a part of this renowned production? 

It means everything to me.  It’s an honor to be cast as a principal role. It will be a great experience!

What dance number is your favorite, and why? 

My favorite dance number is the snow scene, because I love seeing Clara and the Nutcracker playing in the snow together right before all of the amazing dancers perform the snow scene.  

Why is this particular production special to you? 

It is special to me because ABT’s Nutcracker is the ballet I see every year with my family during Christmas time.  It is also the show I get to see my favorite ballerinas perform like Misty Copeland and Isabella Boylston.

What are you most excited for the audience to experience this year? 

I am most excited for the audience to experience a live show after many months of the theater being closed.  

What do you want people to know about this production? 

I want people to know that all of the dancers have been working really hard and are so excited to give them a great show!

L to R: Katrina Carney (Little Mouse) and KaiLi Dang 

American Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker feat. Pacific Symphony

Segerstrom Center for the Arts — Segerstrom Hall

600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

December 10 – 19

For times, dates, and ticket info, visit scfta.org

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