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Dancers to dazzle on stage at Nutcracker

This Christmas, three performers from Silhouette Dance School will have an extra special reason to dance.

This Christmas, three performers from Silhouette Dance School will have an extra special reason to dance. Laura Plante, Kelsea Zalaski, and Cole Babcock have been accepted to perform on stage at the Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton in the annual Alberta Ballet production of the Nutcracker.

“It’s exciting,” said Laura and Kelsea almost in unison when asked how they felt about being selected.

Just a few days prior to the audition day of Oct. 23, the girls noticed a poster on the bulletin board in the waiting room of the dance school, encouraging dancers to try out. They travelled to Edmonton where they auditioned, along with two other dancers from Silhouette Dance School, Anna Pratch and Cole Babcock. There were about 200 dancers auditioning from across the province.

The girls will play the part of Toy Soldiers. Cole was also successful and will be playing the role of a Cossack Rat. Anna was not selected for a part this year and although she admits she was disappointed, she said with a smile, “You can’t expect to win every audition that you try out for.”

Laura and Kelsea said that they were both surprised when their numbers were called. “When you dance, you expect so much from yourself and every little mistake seems huge, even though the people watching probably would never notice,” explained Kelsea.

The show runs on Dec. 10, 11 and 12 and the three performers have to travel to Edmonton every week for practice for now. When it gets closer to show time, they will have to go in more often and will likely have to miss several days of school.

“I will probably get nervous just before show time,” explained Kelsea. Right now, she and Laura are both just looking forward to working with the professional dancers from the Alberta Ballet School.

Cole, who lives in Wainwright but travels to St. Paul for instruction, not only won the audition to perform in the Nutcracker, he also won an audition to the National Ballet School of Canada’s summer program.

He said that he felt “good” about both achievements. In his role as a Cossack Rat in the Nutcracker, he will have to dance wearing a huge head “that I can barely see out of.”

He drives to St. Paul to train under Silhouette Dance instructor Jake Hastey.

“He is just great to me,” Cole said about his instructor, explaining that Hastey takes a genuine interest in his students. For example, Cole said last summer, Hastey travelled all the way to Winnipeg to see Cole and Anna perform in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s summer program’s production called “Girl in a Pink Ballet School.”

“These dancers have been working so hard for the past three years and it is amazing to see them succeeding on a provincial and national level. I am so proud and impressed by their dedication to this very challenging and athletic art form,” said Hastey about the dancers.

Although the dance club is very proud of the achievements of many of its dancers, they are also proud of the all the dancers in the club, according to Dianne Belanger, president of the Silhouette Dance Board.

“This is one of the few programs that I know of that does not judge and place children according to their natural talent, skill or abilities but also takes into consideration the child’s willingness to learn, work hard and practice. We are all-inclusive and have several students with special needs (Down’s Syndrome, FAS) who participate in the same classes as non-special needs students. There is no favoritism whatsoever,” said Belanger.

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