Seneca student performing in the Nutcracker Ballet

By Katrina Grant

The Nutcracker Ballet is one of the many traditions of the holiday season. This year Danielle Cesanek, a sophomore at Seneca High School, will be performing in the ballet put on by South Jersey Ballet. This will be the second year Cesanek has danced with the ballet.

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“This will be my third year doing the Nutcracker with the South Jersey Ballet, but I only joined the studio last year,” Cesanek said. “This year I will be playing the snow queen, which is the second lead role.”

Cesanek has been doing ballet since she was three years old and has danced with many different ballet companies and in many different productions.

“My mom put me and my other two sisters in ballet and I loved it,” Cesanek said. “I always loved it since I was a kid. I’m the only one that’s still dancing out of all my sisters.

Cesanek started out at Today’s Dance Center in Medford and then joined various summer programs at different ballet companies. Last summer she performed in Chicago for five weeks with the Joffrey Ballet.

At South Jersey Ballet, anyone is able to audition, but the productions mostly have dancers that are part of the company. To prepare for the show the dancers practice five to six times a week doing various skills and techniques.

“When you are little, you do basic ballet, as you get older the classes become more specific,” Cesanek said. “When you are 11 or 12 you start doing point, which are the point shoes. If you do point before that age you can have a foot injury. Once you start doing point, which is a lot harder, you transfer your techniques you have already learned.”

“For the play we do a modern class, which strengthens our core by doing Pilates,” Cesanek said. “We build our stamina by running the routine over and over in rehearsals.”

The Nutcracker Ballet will take place Dec. 16, 17 and 18 at the Voorhees Middle School. For ticket information call 856–309–8282.

“The South Jersey Ballet is different because many people think the lead dancers are professional dancers and they’re not, they’re girls that attend the school” Cesanek said. “We train hard and polish our techniques so people think we are professional.”

“The costumes are great and it’s really just a great time,” Cesanek added. “I did Swan Lake before, but the Nutcracker is my favorite.”

Cesanek says she definitely sees ballet in her future.

“At 16 you can audition for a professional ballet company, so I will look into that,” Cesanek said.

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