CAPA Presents Holiday Classic

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Terry Wright

Colette Wright, Design Editor

California Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA) performed The Nutcracker, their annual holiday ballet, at the Del Valle Theater in Walnut Creek from December  3 through 8.  The performance ran about 2 hours.

Senior Tanya Kochan and junior Montana Dunn had lead roles as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Rose Queen, respectively. Auditions were held 5 months before the show and rehearsals took place every Sunday leading up to the opening.

Kochan has participated in The Nutcracker performances for 12 years and takes pride in her contribution in the lead role. “I spent so much time beforehand practicing. Everyone looks up to the Sugar Plum Fairy and I’m proud that I got it,” she said.

“When I got the role I was extremely excited. I wanted to be the Rose Queen since I was 3 years old. It was an amazing moment in my life because it was a really big life goal for me,” said Dunn.

The ballet was originally performed in Mariinsky Theater with music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

The classic story begins with a party at Clara’s house on Christmas Eve. The maids clean up the house and the guests arrive. The grownups dance a promenade, and their children joined in. Uncle Drosselmeyer and his nephew appear with a variety of toys, including three cats, a doll, and a jester, who each perform a dance for the children. Clara then receives a nutcracker, but it is soon broken by her brother, Fritz.

The party ends and Clara sneaks downstairs to lament her broken nutcracker. A Dream Fairy arrives and puts a trance on Clara, who enters a dream when the clock strikes midnight.

The dream begins with a fight between Clara’s nutcracker and a Mouse King. The Mouse King attacks the nutcracker, but the nutcracker prevails in the end. Clara finds out that the Nutcracker is actually her prince, Drosselmeyer’s nephew. The Dream Fairy appears again and leads Clara and the nephew away to a magical land.

“I thought my performance went really well. I was excited because a lot of my friends got to go, it was nice I had so much rehearsal because I got a lot of time to prepare,” said Dunn.

“My performance was good. I was nervous leading up to it, but once I started I was in the moment and nothing mattered,” explained Kochan. Her scene consisted of classical dance moves, including priorates and 8 consistent turns on point shoes at the end.

“There was a lot of balance needed,” said Kochan.

Dunn loves performing. “When I dance, it’s hard to describe the feeling, but it’s amazing. You feel free and you can express yourself, every movement you do is expressive and elongated,” she said.

At the end, the audience gave a standing ovation, according to Kochan. “When the audience cheered, I knew I did well,” said Kochan.