Nutcracker Returns to CPAC


Kelly Pien, News Editor

It’s alive!

And no, it’s not Frankenstein. As we breach the holiday season, Tchaikovsky’s less frightening but equally famous wooden soldier will come to life yet again in The Nutcracker, the California Academy of Performing Arts’ (CAPA’s) annual holiday ballet show. The performance will run from December 17-21 in the CPAC, and features 13 Campolindo students in its 4 casts.

The Nutcracker features a young girl named Clara. Clara’s parents throw a party on Christmas Eve, and their uncle Drosselmeyer brings a nutcracker.

Drosselmeyer uses magic to turn the Nutcracker into a prince who takes Clara on an adventure.

The show’s return to the CPAC is a relief for dancers and CAPA Ballet Director Rachel Chew.  Last year the event was held in Rossmore due to campus renovations. “I think this year we’re feeling really great obviously, because Campo has been our theater for years, and so now we just know what we need to do. We got everything together,” said Chew.

“I am so happy that I’m back in the CPAC this year,” said senior Jenny Toohey, who will play the part of the Snow Queen. “Because for my senior year, I didn’t want to have to be in such a small kind of stage. But the CPAC’s such a nicer environment to be dancing in.”

“The dressing room [in the CPAC] is perfect; I have space to breathe in there. Last year we had to move to a theater that was so cramped, we didn’t have room to walk. And then there just weren’t enough mirrors to do makeup, so people had to do it on the floor,” said junior Michelle Anjani, who will play the Sugar Plum fairy. “It was just crazy. It was a madhouse. But I love this facility. Campo has a great auditorium. It’s amazing.”

Preparation for the show consists of “rehearsals after rehearsals after rehearsals,” said Anjani.

Auditions for individual roles were held in September, and group rehearsals began during the first week of October. “Typically we start preparing when we come back in August, and so basically, for the ballet companies, we rehearse them about 1 hour a week for their group pieces,” said Chew.

Anjani said she attended 5 hour rehearsals every Saturday and 3 hour rehearsals every Sunday. “We run the dances over and over again. We just gotta practice it, and try to get it perfect,” said Anjani. “It’s gonna look good. I’m really excited.”

Before the first show, Toohey said, “I feel really prepared, but very nervous, ‘cause our first [dress] rehearsal is on Sunday and our first show is on Wednesday morning, for students and old folks’ homes, and I’m the queen that day and I’m really scared. But I know everyone else is kind of scared. We’re excited.”

Chew said she was “just excited to see each year. It’s a new [show], kids in different roles. The kids are growing up each year. It’s just exciting.”

“It’s such an amazing experience. As stressful and crazy as it can be sometimes, it feels like a blessing to be able to perform and be part of such an amazing, huge production that’s put on,” Anjani said. “I love it. That stage feels like my second home.”