Local Students Make Debut in Texas Ballet Theater's THE NUTCRACKER
As Kennedy Crymes and Karen Martinez walk through the doors of Texas Ballet Theater, the excitement is palpable. The two friends enjoy training at TBT's school together four times per week and recently started extra rehearsals for the company's upcoming production of Ben Stevenson's The Nutcracker.
It's hard to imagine that just last year, Kennedy and Karen took their first ballet classes.
Karen, a fifth grader at Charles Nash Elementary, and Kennedy, a fifth grader at Ridglea Hills Elementary, were both introduced to ballet through TBT's CityDance program. CityDance provides a free five-week series of introductory ballet classes at Dallas and Tarrant County schools. For many of the 1,100 students impacted by the program annually, it is their first encounter with dance.
After the series ended at their schools, both students showed further interest in ballet and received CityDance scholarships to continue training at Texas Ballet Theater School. When it was time to audition for student roles in The Nutcracker, Karen and Kennedy jumped at the opportunity.
Kennedy saw The Nutcracker in 2018 with the tickets she received as a CityDance participant. Immediately, she knew she wanted to be a part of it all.
"I love seeing the magic of the production," she says of being behind the scenes this year.
The two young dancers look forward to rehearsing with the professional company and to their performances at Bass Performance Hall in downtown Fort Worth. Karen's father, Felipe Martinez, feels a sense of pride every time he drives past the hall.
"I can't believe my daughter gets to perform there," he said.
The students' parents agree that CityDance opened Kennedy's and Karen's eyes to ballet and inspired their love of the art form. Without the program, they may have never known how much they enjoy dance.
For Karen, it is difficult to pick a favorite thing about ballet, but she enjoys learning new things and growing as a dancer. "I like the challenge of class," she said. "You learn things you didn't know existed."
Kennedy's and Karen's passion and training will come to life December 13 when The Nutcracker opens at Bass Performance Hall. The classic holiday ballet runs through December 29. For tickets, visit www.texasballettheater.org or call 877-828-9200 Option 1.