Polina Semionova in The Nutcracker, Bayerische Staatsoper, January 18, 2014. Photograph by Jack Devant.

Semionova took on the role of Louise in John Neumeier’s The Nutcracker. As the Edwards family prepare for their Christmas party, Clara imagines the wonderful things that might happen. Her brother Frederick can’t miss a moment to tease her and is only stopped by the arrival of their beautiful older sister Louise.


As you may or may not know, I had Nutcracker auditions last Saturday. I was feeling really confident having had several really strong ballet classes earlier in the week. My ballet teachers reassured me several times that the audition process would be very similar to class. I went in super confident, but left feeling like I had let myself down.

I could go into grand detail about all the minute things that made me feel uncomfortable and analyze all of the steps that I did incorrectly or couldn’t do at all, but I don’t want to do that. It is over. I did what I could and I really hope that the teachers take into account my roles last year and how I perform in class. I decided that I just wouldn’t think about it again until the casting results were announced. Impossible, of course.

Last night, while a few friends were over, my brother, not know how auditions went, said to his friend “My sister is an amazing dancer! She just auditioned for the Nutcracker!”. Of course everyone started asking how auditions went and I said something along the lines of “Oh, well, it went okay. I think I did alright. It could have been better… but I did the best I could at the time and that is worth a lot. Anyways, I will still have fun dancing, even if I have a smaller part”.

Luis, my boyfriend, said that is sounded like I was trying to convince myself of what I just said. And I was trying to convince myself. Just putting myself out there was worth a lot, right? In front of the friends that we had over I was trying so hard to convince myself  that just trying out was an accomplishment.

After the auditions I felt like crying. Nothing went as well as I wanted it to and I’m terrified of getting a “lesser” role than I had last year.

Tears were welling up in my eyes as I walked out of the building, but I was determined not to let my disappointment show until I could hide in the safety and privacy of my car. As I walked to my car I passed a teen-aged girl had just auditioned with me and she was weeping in her mother’s arms. She was saying she “blew it” and that she had “totally messed up”.

I realized instantly that she was the girl that I had been following out of the corner of my eye during auditions. She was the girl that I thought danced so beautifully and had done everything almost perfectly. She was the girl that I watched and thought “Man, if only I could dance like her, then I’d get the part I want”. And there she was a few cars down from me, being held by her mom while she sobbed…I was so stunned that this beautiful dancer felt exactly the same way I did that I forgot to cry.

I’m still trying to convince myself that no matter what I will have fun.The thing is, I know I will be really bummed if I don’t at least get the parts I had last year… *Sigh*


Debbie Allen’s “The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” Wins 7th Annual Goldstar National Award

Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy, which competed with nearly 60 other Nutcracker productions across the country, will receive a cash prize to benefit the organization’s educational programs, and bragging rights since it was declared ‘the best-loved Nutcracker in the U.S.’ This is another win for the Debbie Allen Dance Academy who took home The Nutty in 2010 as well.

The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, starred Debbie Allen and Carlo Imperato, but also included Mariah Carey, Arturo Sandoval, Chau-giang Thi Nguyen, James Ingram and Thump as part of the creative team. 

The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker gives the seasonal favorite a rich new cultural context and updated characters, and features a lively contemporary score with original songs from multiple-Grammy-winner Mariah Carey and others. After young Kara receives a nutcracker filled with hot chocolate, she falls asleep and journeys to enchanted lands, including Candy Cane Lane, Egypt, the Rainforest, Jazzland, Russia and the Land of the Kimono Dolls. Little ones will have no trouble following along thanks to the narration by three wisecracking mice: Harvey, Schmink and Buckey. Allen herself appears in this fun holiday musical adventure.

Previous winners of “The Nutty” Statuette include: The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker in 2011 and 2012; Debbie Allen Dance Academy, The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker in 2010; Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker in 2009; The Kirov Ballet’s The Nutcracker in 2008; and The House Theater of Chicago’sThe Nutcracker at the Steppenwolf Theatre in 2007.

Photography by Lee Tonks