By Ashley FILIPEK
Students of Los Angeles Magazine’s “L.A.’s Best Kids’ Ballet School” will take the stage this holiday season at The Luckman Theatre to perform the holiday classic, “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 14, 15, and 16. The Marat Daukayev Ballet Theatre’s 12th production features dancers from 3-year-old beginners to advanced students whose artistry and poise contradict their young ages, in a full-length ballet complete with battling mice and soldiers, professional guest dancers from Russia, an enchanting snowy forest, and Tchaikovsky’s beloved score.
This year, Callihan Porter of Tujunga, who attends seventh grade at Brighton Hall in Burbank, will dance the lead role of Masha. Callihan is 12 years old and began studying ballet when she was 9. She likes all kind of dancing, but has found a true calling in ballet. She practices at the Marat Daukayev Ballet School almost every day, but in her free time loves to hang out with her friends. She has competed two consecutive years in the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) – the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition. In 2011, she placed top 12 in the ensemble and in 2012 she placed top 12 for classical solo and captured first place for pas de deux. She and the rest of the Nutcracker ensemble have been in rehearsals for a little over 1½ months, and the hard work is paying off.
“I’m really, really excited for the shows,” says Callihan.
Performances will take place at The Luckman Theatre at Cal State Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive, five miles east of downtown Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 16 at noon and 4 p.m. Tickets are $33 for reserved seating and can be purchased by calling the box office at (323) 343-6600 on Tuesdays from noon to 6 p.m., and Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information can be found at the school’s website www.maratdaukayev.com.