Area teen takes on role of ‘Clara’ in ‘Nutcracker’

Brooke LaChance of Southington during a recent rehearsal for 'The Nutcracker' at Cheshire Dance Centre.

Brooke LaChance of Southington during a recent rehearsal for ‘The Nutcracker’ at Cheshire Dance Centre.

By MIKE CHAIKEN
EDITIONS EDITOR

The holiday ballet classic, “The Nutcracker,” is coming to Hamden High School this weekend. And a Southington teen has landed the central role of Clara in the Cecchetti Ballet Theatre production.
Brooke LaChance, a freshman at Southington High School, will dance as Clara.
For those unfamiliar with the ballet, Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” follows a young girl, Clara, as she begins her Christmas eve at a lively party with family and friends. At the party, she is given a Nutcracker by a mysterious relative. And when she slides off to slumber, Clara finds herself in a magical full of princesses, cavaliers, and warring mice and tin soldiers.
The ballet is a favorite of dance companies across the globe because it allows them to incorporate the youngest to the most accomplished members of their troupe.
And there was a time, when Brooke was one of the youngest members on stage.
The teen said she has been dancing in Cecchetti productions of the ballet since she was a mere 3-years-old. “This is my 10th ‘Nutcracker.’”
After moving up the ladder of roles through the years, said Brooke, “I’m very excited to be playing the role of Clara.’”
Clara is a character that many young girls find themselves relating to. And Brooke is no exception.
Brooke, who is the daughter of Keith and Paige LaChance of Southington, said she likes that “Clara is a fun, girly girl…That will work well with me. I’ll definitely be able to add my personality into it. It will be really good.”
As for how Brooke is like her character, she explained, “I’m very bubbly… I’m very good with being social. I have a lot of friends in the party scene (in the first act) so I’ll definitely be able to incorporate that (aspect of my personality into my performance).”
Asked what aspects of performing as Clara she liked, Brooke said, “I love dancing with the Candy Cane. I get to have my own solo. I’m very excited. It’s my first solo.”
Beyond her own choreography as Clara, Brooke said her favorite part of “The Nutcracker” is the grand pas de deux of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier in the second act. “It’s so beautiful.”
And the energy the Cecchetti cast members in those roles have and the strength between the two partners “is beautiful.”
As a fan of dance, Brooke said, “I feel that people keeping coming back (to see ‘The Nutcracker’ year after year) because it’s a holiday tradition for a lot of people.”
Additionally, Brooke noted, there is a Christmas tree, which plays a big part in setting the tone of the ballet as a seasonal favorite.
There are numerous productions of “The Nutcracker” across the state through till Christmas. But Brooke said area audiences should see the Cecchetti Ballet Theatre production of “The Nutcrakcer” this weekend because “at our studio, we focus on incorporating so many different people. We have the littlest girls to the most beautiful older dancers… We have a wide variety of people.”
Additionally, Brooke said the dancing in the Cheshire-based troupe is sharp because “we focus so much on technique.”
Brooke currently studies dance— and is an assistant— at Cheshire Dance Centre where she has recently passed her Cecchetti Grade 6 classical ballet exam.
“I definitely would like to dance in college,” said Brooke when asked about her ultimate ambitions. “Dance is a huge part of my life.”
But, barring that, “I’m also interested in nursing a little bit.”
“So it could go either way,” said the SHS student.
The Cecchetti Ballet Theatre  will perform the full-length production of Tchaikovsky’s ballet, “The Nutcracker,” on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. at the Hamden High School auditorium. This production features a cast of over 100 children and adults from central Connecticut and the surrounding towns, as well as from New York City, Philadelphia, and Massachusetts.
Special guest artist Isaac Stappas of New York City will be dancing the role of the Cavalier with Natalie Hackett as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Returning to the cast this year is Greg Lennox, who will perform as the Snow King, alongside Glennith Capone, and Sydney Senior in the Arabian pas de deux.
Traditional and original choreography is staged by Betty Seibert, artistic director for the company.
For tickets go to TUTUTIX.COM or call (855)222-2TIX (2849). For further information, call (203) 699-8888.
Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for children 11 and under, and senior citizens 62 and over. All seats are reserved. Students aged 12 to college-age, with a valid student ID, may purchase student rush tickets (available for only $15) at the door one-half hour prior to each performance.
Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver. com.