Youngsters to `dance with the best

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The dreams of 40 young Oamaru dancers will come true next month when they share the stage with the Imperial Russian Ballet Company.
When the company brings The Nutcracker to the Oamaru Opera House on November 22, its dancers will be joined by an enthusiastic group from the Victoria Cooper Academy of Dance.
Mrs Cooper said it wasn’t often local children were asked to perform with international touring companies but the Imperial Russian Ballet Company was an exception.
She received a call from the company out of the blue several months ago, asking if she was able to supply dancers for the Oamaru show.
“It’s quite a rare thing that they invite the younger children. I had danced in a ballet show when I was eight or nine with the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company, so this is quite a special thing they get to do.”
Her dancers were excited after six months of rehearsals.
“It’s really exciting because they get to dance with the best dancers in the world … it’s taken quite a bit of practice.”
They will dance throughout the show, including in a Christmas party scene, as mice, soldiers and gnomes.
Mrs Cooper said the experience would be invaluable for the young dancers.
“They’ll learn heaps being able to see the professionals at work.
“They will get to know what it’s like to perform at that standard and what’s being asked.
“It will improve their ballet and it will be exciting for them to wear the really flash costumes and be involved with the theatre of it as well.”
The Nutcracker is known for Tchaikovsky’s music and the score is considered one of the most recognisable and enduring ever written.
The Imperial Russian Ballet Company was formed in 1994 by the Bolshoi Theatre soloist, Gediminas Taranda.
Forty elite dancers, wardrobe, make-up and production personnel will be in Oamaru for the show