Dimond Student Dances in Nutcracker

Kali Dey has been dancing since the age of three, but it was only a few years ago that she began to dance seriously. Now the Dimond freshman is dancing major roles in the beloved Christmas ballet The Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker took place over Thanksgiving weekend at the Performing Arts Center and featured professional dancers from the Eugene Ballet Company (EBC), as well as youth dancers from the Alaska Dance Theater (ADT), where Dey trains.

Dey, who dances up to 40 hours a week, logged many long hours rehearsing for The Nutcracker, in which she performed as both Fritz and a flower in the Waltz of the Flowers.

“I got to the studio every day at around four and stayed until seven, sometimes nine. On weekends I was there from ten until sometimes five,” Dey said.

With finals less than a month away, many students are struggling to balance all their homework. Dey, who takes honors classes, must work extra hard to keep up with all her work and busy dance schedule.

Besides ballet, Dey also does modern and jazz dancing, and has attended several summer programs.

“Last summer I went to an intensive at ADT where we did two weeks of ballet, jazz, and modern, followed by a performance at the end. This coming summer I’m planning to do another intensive out of state,” said Dey

Despite the extra stress, Dey was thrilled and excited to be a part of the Nutcracker.

“I was really excited. This was my third year performing in The Nutcracker and my second year as Fritz. It was also my first time doing the Waltz of the Flowers, so I was really looking forward to it,” said Dey.

In order to get her parts, Dey attended an audition.

“At the auditions, you stand in line and they give you a number. Sometimes they’ll just look at people and look at their body type and then say ‘you dance, you go home.’ Mainly you have to fit the costumes, you can’t be too tall or anything,” Dey said.

To prepare for the roles she received, Dey had to spend a lot of time “refining her technique.

“In order to get the parts, you have to have prior ballet experience, and then after that you learn all the choreography,” said Dey.

Dey enjoyed practicing and dancing both of her roles.

“I had more choreography in Fritz and I was onstage longer, so obviously I liked that because I love performing. Waltz of the Flowers was really the first big part I’ve danced in pointe shoes, so it was an eye-opener of what’s to come with point. It also took a lot of effort, so that was really cool to me,” Dey said.

Dey also enjoyed rehearsing and learning from the professional dancers in the ballet.

“I think my favorite part of the whole thing was getting to dance with and learn from the dancers from EBC. They are so talented and kind, and amazing dancers.”

Dey danced in all six showings of The Nutcracker, and not every performance went off without a hitch.

“During the Waltz of the Flowers at one of the shows my pointe shoes ‘died,’ which is what we call it when the wooden blocks in the toes bend or snap and don’t properly support your feet. I had to fix them in a hurry, and I was hot-gluing them backstage! That was definitely not fun,” Dey said

Despite some glitches, Dey enjoyed practicing and performing in the show, and plans to continue dancing for a long time.

“I love dancing, and I won’t ever stop unless it’s forced upon me,” Dey said.