Local dancers earn parts in 'The Nutcracker'

November 26, 2010
Post-Trib
Bob Kostanczuk

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It can be a little intimidating to perform on a big-city stage. But things settled down for 10-year-old Aubrey Hamilton during last year's run of "The Nutcracker" in Chicago. "Maybe the first show was hard because you're a little bit nervous, but after a while it got easy," the Highland girl said of her debut in the Joffrey Ballet production. "It was really fun just being onstage with all my friends," she said.

After playing a Spanish doll in 2009, Aubrey will be back. She is one of the dancers from Northwest Indiana chosen to join the cast of Robert Joffrey's "The Nutcracker" during its Dec. 10-26 stint at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago.

Aubrey's 8-year-old sister, Connor, has also been picked for this year's engagement, which will welcome nearly 120 young dancers from the Chicago area, Indiana and Wisconsin.

The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago has made it a holiday tradition to share the stage with aspiring kids.

Kelly Hamilton, the mother of Aubrey and Connor, said her daughters attend dance classes at the Joffrey school in Chicago. "They are in the preprofessional program," mom said.

Angie Konstantinopoulos of Munster is another proud mother who will get to see her child in "The Nutcracker," a lush slice of theater.

Kali Konstantinopoulos, 11, will play a mounted mouse -- a soldier-like character -- in the "The Nutcracker," which is based on a 19th-century German tale. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that the child will always remember," said Kali's mother, terming the Joffrey "a world-class ballet company."

Lavish period costumes highlight "The Nutcracker" at the Auditorium Theatre, which will be transformed into a winter wonderland and also evoke Victorian America in the 1850s.