The Nutcracker en pointe

By Allana Rivera

Three sophomores have been performing this holiday season in outside productions of The Nutcracker. The ballet is a light-hearted story of the dreams of a young girl in 19th century Russia on Christmas Eve.

It is a fantastical tale of gingerbread-eating mice, snowflakes that come alive and a land of dancing confections. Nicolena Farias-Eisner ’13, Lida Mazina ’13 and Rachel Schwartz ’13 take part as ballerinas.

Schwartz dances for Westside Ballet, a Santa Monica studio which holds their yearly Nutcracker production at Wadsworth Theatre in West Los Angeles.

Mazina attends Ballet Arts in Westside Village, and this year is performing at the Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks.

Farias-Eisner dances for Marat Daukayev School of Ballet in Los Angeles, and is performing at the Japan America Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.

“From the beginning of September to the beginning of December my whole life is taken up by ballet, and as [the production] gets closer, [rehearsals] get more intense,” Schwartz said.

There are over six major dances in the show, all of which include ballerinas and danseurs [French for the male equivalent of a ballerina] dressed in sparkling costumes and dancing to Tchaikovsky’s score.

“I can’t name one costume that doesn’t have any rhinestones,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz said on the score, “It’s so beautiful. It feels like the holiday whenever I hear it.”

The work load, however, is not so glamorous, she said.

“It’s really tiring and painful when you have to be on point for six hours,” Schwartz said.

“En pointe,” is a classic ballet technique which requires dancers to be on their toes for extended periods of time with only their pointe shoes to help them.

The shoes enable dancers to appear weightless, though it does take a considerable amount of work for a dancer to be ready for this technique.

“Even though it may seem tedious it’s actually really exciting,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz’s and Mazina’s Nutcracker performances are planned to end shortly before Christmas.

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