After six years of playing a mouse, a Chinese dancer, a party girl and a variety of other roles, Denver resident Celeste Borman will star as the leading lady in the North Carolina Dance Theatre’s production of “Nutcracker,” opening this weekend.
The 13-year-old will dance her way through the Charlotte rendition of the ballet, with a history spanning over a century, as she plays Clara Stalhbaum — a girl who receives a gift that will change her Christmas Eve forever.
With more than 100 other student cast members, and dancers of the N.C. Dance Theatre, Borman will share the role of the protagonist with Phoebe Klett, as to lighten the load of the various showings of the ballet throughout the month.
With six shows filling her schedule this month and nightly rehearsals this week in preparation for her debut on Saturday, Borman’s excitement mounts as she perfects her en pointe routines. Standing on the tip of her toes, while moving across the stage is something she’s never done before, but has been doing well with so far. Her mother, Jeana, has been making the trips from Denver to Charlotte since September and is ready to see her daughter’s hard work brought to light this month.
“She was really excited to be chosen for the part, and surprised; we thought she’d play the same part she had last year,” Borman told the Times-News. “She enjoys it, though; it’s a lifestyle. There’s a lot of rehearsing, and you have to really, really want to do it.”
Though not the oldest and tallest of the batch — two obstacles Borman and her daughter worried facing the auditions — clarity and stage presence were among the elements the seventh-grader showed that helped win her the role, Nutcracker Artistic Director and Choreographer Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux said. Her “joy for dancing” and visible dedication have been obvious to him over his time working with her, he noted.
Borman has been in the Nutcracker the last six years, her mother Jeana noted, but has never before played a main role.
Dancing since she was four years old, the East Lincoln Middle student plans on continuing to dance throughout her life, and is looking forward to taking on one of her biggest roles, yet, in one of the largest productions of which she has ever been a part. A first time for everything, the seventh-grader will be working alongside men, as she is lifted in the air and accompanies the male ballet dancers across the stage — something that took some getting used to, she said.
Also a modern and jazz dancer, ballet is where Borman’s heart is, as she performs in versions of Snow White and The Little Mermaid — two other larger productions she has been in.
“The Nutcracker is a fun show, all about childhood dreams and things kids wants to do,” Borman said. “It’s a great experience for me, and most people — they won’t get a chance to see anything else like it.”
An eight-year student of the N.C. Dance Theatre’s School of Dance, Borman will perform at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon Street in Charlotte. Other performances include: Dec. 16, Dec. 21, Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, show times vary.
For tickets and other information, call (704) 372-1000, or visit www.ncdance.org.