It is the holiday season and many families around the country will be will be heading to the theaters to see The Nutcracker. The ballet has become synonymous with this time of year.
And for the dancers, it takes countless hours of preparation to put on the production.
Behind the scenes with the Texas Ballet Theater, the performers prepare for their opening weekend of the show.
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It’s behind the scenes where the magic is made. From tendus to pirouettes, the dancers do these simple exercises that will be pieced together like a beautiful puzzle when the curtains rise at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth.
“We have to make it look easy and that’s part of the job,” said Michelle Taylor, who is a dancer with the theater. “Just to have the grace and elegance to go on stage and make it look effortless.”
The 40 ballet dancers with the Texas Ballet Theater have put in thousands of practice hours and months of preparation to perform The Nutcracker. It’s all done under the careful eye of their ballet master who watches them like a maternal guardian.
The professional dancers with the theater come from all over the world like Andre Silva from Brazil and Jiyan Dai from China. Among the pool of world class talent is Michelle Taylor
“I’m from Texas,” said Taylor. “I actually went to high school at North Crowley. Go Panthers! And right after I graduated I got my first contract with Texas Ballet Theater and I’ve been here ever since.”
The bubbly charismatic Texan is able to transform her energy into lively performances when she is on stage. For 11 seasons, Taylor has performed in front of friends and family. Performing in your hometown is a rarity in the competitive ballet business.
“I don’t take it for granted the fact that I have my family here,” said Taylor. “So that during The Nutcracker and holidays I can see them. It’s really special for me.”
And when its show time, the seats at Bass Hall will be filled and the stage will be lit.
“It’s all magical,” said Taylor. “As soon as the curtain go up, all we see is black. It’s all black in the audience and you can’t really see anything. And then at the end of the show when the curtain is about to close we all come on for our stage call and we get standing ovations. You can see the smiles in the audience, especially the little ones. The children get to see us up close and we get to see the joy in their faces. It’s really great for us. It just feels like we’re doing our jobs right.”
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