Local dance students will take the stage with Moscow Ballet for Great Russian Nutcracker

Anna Radik was a little girl when she saw her first performance of The Nutcracker. She watched it from backstage. Much about the world of dance was revealed to her during a childhood spent largely inside the National Opera House of Ukraine in Kiev.

“I can say that I was raised there since I was little,” the dancer said.

Radik will join Moscow Ballet in its performance of Great Russian Nutcracker Nov. 25 at Rose State College Hudiburg Chevrolet Center, 6420 SE 15th St., in Midwest City. The performance is extra special because several young, local dancers will have the opportunity to join Moscow Ballet onstage for the show.

Radik started dancing when she was 6 years old and began attending Ukraine’s national dance academy at age 9. Her mother spent 16 years as choir director inside the national opera house, so Radik was constantly exposed to dance and opera while growing up.

Radik spent nearly a decade as a member of Kiev Music Theatre. She has spent the last four years with Moscow Ballet. In her professional dancing career, Radik has toured across more than 30 countries.

However, it is her first year as audition director for Moscow Ballet. Radik orchestrated the effort to look for local ballet and dance students from each city to join them onstage for that night’s performance.

The students must be between the ages of 7 and 17 with at least one year of formal training to audition. Radik said the company’s auditions usually bring in as many as 60-75 students. Those selected from the audition will go through a few rehearsals before heading onstage.

Roles for student dancers include party children; mice; snowflakes; snow maidens; and Spanish, French, Chinese and Russian variations. Radik said her new role feels different from her comfortable position as a soloist onstage.

“It’s very different work,” she said. “It’s one thing when you perform on your own as a dancer; you have a lot of responsibility for yourself. When you’re the audition director, it’s a completely different thing because I have to take care of all the other kids as well.”

Another thing Radik loves about being a dancer is the ability to travel and experience different crowds, not only in the United States, but around the world.

“Every country has something special that I can see. There are so many different cultures. It’s very exciting, and I think I’m very lucky to do all of this stuff as a dancer because I really travel a lot.”

Still, she does not want to overlook the importance of the performance for the children involved. Initial youth auditions for Great Russian Nutcracker were in August at Julia’s Academy of Dance in Norman. Radik realizes what a moment like this could mean to a young dancer. In each girl’s eyes, she is reminded a little of her days peeking backstage in Kiev.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform with a professional dance company,” she said. “I think it will give them lots of experience now and in the future as well.”

Print headline: Chance to dance, Moscow Ballet lets young dancers appear onstage in Great Russian Nutcracker.

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