This year’s Nutcracker Prince and Snow Queen are getting some Royal treatment.
Kemper Cassada, who plays the Prince in The Nutcracker, the Great Imperial Ballet at the Straz Center in Tampa, will soon attend a week of training at the prestigious Royal Ballet School (RBS) in London.
Hannah Stanford, who will dance the role of the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, recently completed two weeks at RBS.
Next Generation Ballet apprentices, Kemper and Hannah earned scholarships to attend RBS at the 2012 Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition in New York City earlier this year.
At the final YAGP competition, Kemper made it past three rounds, but didn’t place in the last round, he said. Disappointed, he didn’t expect the scholarship from RBS.
“They were calling kids on stage, and I was really happy for them. Then they called my name. I was really excited,” said Kemper. “Going to a ballet school like Royal Ballet is just absolutely amazing.”
His week at RBS will determine possible placement for next year.
On being cast as the Prince in this year’s Nutcracker, he said, “I’m looking forward to my first principal role as a lead in a ballet...it’s a great challenge.”
Attending RBS, and being in the The Nutcracker, are great opportunities, he said.
During Hannah's two weeks at RBS, she trained with their first year students, most of whom are 16 years old or older, and learned several new pieces from various ballets.
“I really enjoyed the different classes, especially repertoire...We learned a piece from Frederick Ashton's Cinderella, a portion of Daphnis and Chloe, and I also learned a pas de six from Giselle. We also had character, pas de deux, and choreography which I really enjoyed,” said Hannah.
|Hannah Stanford at the Royal|
Ballet School in London
“When we saw the treble clefs on the doors, we knew we had come to the right place,” said mom Susie Stanford. The musical note that adorns the entrance to the Patel Conservatory conveys the feeling of arriving at their artistic home.
With an invitation to return to RBS, Royal may be in Hannah's future, but in the meantime this Snow Queen brings her grace to the Morsani stage at the Straz Center.
Of her role in The Nutcracker, she said, “I love the choreography, and the music is so beautiful, I feel like I am a part of it when I am dancing.”
Come see Kemper and Hannah and more than 180 other dancers in Next Generation Ballet's magical production of The Nutcracker, the Great Imperial Ballet, Dec. 22 and 23, 2012 at the Straz Center.
These performances have been known to sell out, so get your tickets early!