Shannon Heath, Lafayette Ballet Theatre’s co-director says, it’s almost a year-long process to put on the Nutcracker Ballet each December.
Her principal dancers will tell you, however, it’s more like a lifetime.
“It’s a lot of hard work. We train about thirteen hours a week,” says Camille Reaux. “I got really serious about ballet when I was a freshman in high school because Lafayette Ballet Theater provided an environment where I could foster my talent and passion and realize how I loved it.”
Now Camille has danced her way from coast to coast professionally for ballet companies in Miami, Seattle and Denver. an injury and pursuit of her undergraduate degree landed Reaux back home.
“LBT opened their arms and let me come back and provided me an opportunity to continue dancing and continue getting paid to dance and perform amazing roles”
“I’m so excited to debut my role as lead marzipan. It’s a very high energy role, a lot of jumps, a lot of turns,” says Reaux.
There’s another reason Camille’s principal role in her 13th Nutcracker performance will be so special.
“All of the dancers who have done this role before me I have looked up to and viewed them as a role model to get me where I am now,” says Reaux
Now what she may or may not notice is she is inspiring others to follow her lead, like Madison Lewis, a 10 year old excited for her first dancing part in the Nutcracker.
“When I see them dancing it makes me want to push harder because I know I want to get that role when I’m older,” says Lewis.
As it all comes together the company’s co-director calls this the true magic of the Nutcracker.
“You can see how they develop, they work, they master the skills, and by the twelfth week they’re ready for the stage,” says Heath.
Performances will be held on Saturday, December 8 and Sunday, December 9 at the Heymann Performing Arts Center. For more information on the Lafayette Ballet Theatre and tickets lafayetteballettheatre.org.