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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

Nutcracker: The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

A Christmas classic is being staged this weekend.  From the first lilting bars, most people recognize music from the Nutcracker (to hear, hit Listen).

"I really like the story and the music," says 13-year-old Carli Medina. She knows the Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker music well.

Karen Heiden is the associate director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet, and has known Carli for years.

"Carli Medina is an 8th grader who is in her 5th year as a company member," Heiden says.

And young Carli has been performing in The Nutcracker for a big chunk of her life.

"She has been dancing with our ballet school since she was about 3 years old." 

Heiden says that as Carli has grown, so has her skill. And at her age she's right on the cusp between worlds.

"She is able to pass as a child in the party scene, as well as she has the technical capability that she has moved up into a position where she is dancing on point in the second act."

Unlike the non-dancing roles she's played in the past, now  she's elevated to the point where she's one of those dancing in what's called The Spanish Dance.

"Her Spanish Role--she is dancing backup to professional dancers," Heiden says.

Carli herself seems awed by the responsibility.

"Well, the Spanish Dance is definitely challenging, but we've rehearsed it and now I feel comfortable with it."

Heiden has watched her skills grow since she was still a toddler. "It's a wonderful treat to see these kids grow up as they dance."

Arts San Antonio is presenting the Mejia Ballet International Production for four performances this weekend.

"Performances will be at the Lila Cockrell Theatre, December 16th at 7:30 p.m. Saturday there are two shows. There's a matinee at 2p.m. And an evening show at 7:30p.m., and then Sunday on the 18th is the final show at 2p.m."

Probably not the final show, in the long run, for Ms. Medina.

"I always thought it was really pretty, so being part of it is really great."

Find more on The Nutcracker here.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii