Local family "nuts" about holiday balletDecember 6, 2010 @ 5:59 am (Updated: 1:37 pm - 3/28/11 )
Somewhere off stage at McCaw Hall, there's a room crowded with kids who are preparing to perform the Nutcracker. Among them are 9-year-old Jack, 13-year-old Caroline and 15-year-old Grace Haskins.
"Our whole family does this," says Grace, "Our mom helps out." "Grace kind of led the way." says their mom, Anne Haskins, "She came out dancing on her toes."
Grace, a student at Pacific Northwest Ballet, was first chosen to be in Pacific Northwest Ballet company's production of Nutcracker.
"This is my sixth year of Nutcracker," she says.
Younger brother Jack points out he and sister Caroline were eventually picked to perform too.
He says the company's principal dancers keep an eye on the PNB students. "Then they'll see who's really like extremely good," he sighs, nonchalantly, "and has a lot of stage character and stage presence, and then put you in a part." His sisters giggle. A couple of years ago, Jack was one of the youngest dancers to join the Nutcracker cast.
Each year the kids have tackled different roles. This year you'll see Caroline in Act Two. "We have a Chinese Tiger. There's four of us, and the Tiger, and we do a dance from the [Nutcracker] Prince and Clara," she says excitedly.
This year Jack is a doll and Grace is a mouse, while their mother scurries around backstage.
"The shows run two-and-a-half hours. Depending on the part, the kids are here either half an hour to an hour-and-a-half before." She says, calculating their daily commitment during performances, "and then there's about a half-hour after that we're helping clean up backstage. So, it could be about five hours."
"We pretty much are down here, most of the time," Anne says of the holiday season. "You're either dancing or you're on call and kind of have to limit what you can do. You don't go out of town."
"We've pretty much given up our whole lives for this," says Caroline." Jack adds, "I don't get sleepovers and play dates all the time."
But Anne stresses that PNB tries to keep siblings in the same shows, so there's a little less running around for families. And Anne insists, for the Haskins, it's truly become "a family thing."
Jack says, "You get a cool part in a show and a cool costume. You get to be a part of it."
"It's just sort of a tradition," says Grace as they spend another holiday with the Nutcracker Ballet. "It's just great to do Christmas, every day."
I-5 Bridge Collapse
Three people were pulled from the water after I-5 bridge collapses over Skagit River
Washington state leaders hail vote to allow openly gay Boy Scouts
There's a Zone for That
Mapping out a plan for marijuana growers and sellers
Bonneville Media encourages site users to express their opinions by posting comments. Our goal is to maintain a civil dialogue in which readers feel comfortable. At times, the comments can descend to personal attacks. Please do not engage in such behavior. We encourage your thoughtful comments which: have a positive and constructive tone, are on topic, are respectful toward others and their opinions. Bonneville reserves the right to remove comments which do not conform to these criteria.