Downey residents star in 'The Nutcracker'

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DOWNEY – This weekend, a handful of residents of the city of Downey will be performing in “The Nutcracker” ballet.

Each year, Southern California Dance Theatre shares its production of “The Nutcracker” at the Downey Theatre. The Nutcracker is a timeless holiday tradition that is sure to delight your senses and fill you with the spirit of Christmas.

The SCDT Nutcracker ballet is a must-see this holiday season, and is sure to entertain and awe-inspire from the performances of these special dancers to the magical growing Christmas tree, the dreamy dance between Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, and the enchanted land of the sweets and Sugar Plum fairy.

Limited tickets are still available for both shows, and can be purchased online at www.downeytheatre.org, by phone 562-861-8211, or in person at the box office.

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In this year’s Nutcracker, you will see Downey residents in the roles of Young Clara, Battle Prince, and Arabian lead. Tania Medina, who started dancing at three years of age, fell in love with ballet during her very first class. She dreamed of becoming Clara, and demonstrated her dedication to work hard by attending as many classes as were available to her. Tania’s dream came true, and she will be performing as Young Clara!

Talent and hard work must run in the family, as Tania’s older sister, Luisa Medina has been cast as a lead Arabian dancer.

Luisa began dancing at Southern California Dance Academy seven years ago when she was only six. She has participated in many of SCDTs productions, with her favorite roles being Prayer in last spring’s Coppelia, and Chinese lead in last year’s Nutcracker. The role of Arabian lead is at the top of her favorites now.

Luisa will perform this breathtaking dance, one that requires a combination of flexibility, strength, and athleticism while exuding a graceful ease that allows the audience to become enraptured with the beauty of the dancers and their movements.

Our Battle Princes this year will be performed by two brothers sharing the role, Kevin and Blake Cordova. After watching a performance of The Nutcracker in 2010, these two Downey natives became interested in ballet. Shortly thereafter both Kevin and Blake began taking ballet classes at SCDA.

Kevin is now a freshman at Downey High School, has played football with the Downey Razorbacks, and is a third degree black belt in karate.

Blake is a 6th grader at Doty Middle School where he participates in school band. He also enjoys reading and creating art projects.

Seven years since their first ballet class, Kevin and Blake will debut in their role as Battle Prince, and valiantly attempt to protect young Clara from the terrifying Mouse King and his minions of attacking mice, leading the toy soldiers into battle.

They will also alternate as Clara’s brother Fritz, a mischievous boy who causes quite a commotion along with the other boys at the Christmas party hosted by Clara’s family.

Southern California Dance Theatre is located in the city of Long Beach, and offers classical ballet training, as well as contemporary workshops, spring and summer dance camps, and a summer intensive for intermediate and advanced dancers.

In addition, SCDT holds three full productions each year, all held at the beautiful Downey Theatre.

Paula Vreulink is the Creative Director of the company, and this year she has reimagined the story line from previous years to create an even more ethereal and dreamy experience.

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