Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker includes a number of parts danced by children. Even while the Company were away performing in Sunderland, London and Plymouth this Autumn, the children for our 2011 shows had already been selected and were busy rehearsing their roles.

In a special guest post written at the start of the season, Julie, mother of one of this year’s Nutcracker children, writes about her daughter’s involvement in the ballet, which tours to the 02 this winter:

I logged into my email account and there, in the subject, was “NUTCRACKER”!!! It leapt out of the screen and I just couldn’t believe it!! A message from Company Manager Paul Grist informing us that our 11 year old daughter had been selected by Birmingham Royal Ballet to take part in The Nutcracker. Sophia is a year 7 student at Elmhurst School for Dance in Birmingham (the school associated with Birmingham Royal Ballet). That was the first surprise. The second surprise was that the children would travel down to London to take part in the performances at the O2 arena.

Now, in our family, we aren’t strangers to BRB and their tours. Back in 2009 when my young daughters attended the Elmhurst Pre Vocational Saturday Programme they were very fortunate to be asked to be in David Bintley’s Sylvia. Imy, then 10, went on tour with BRB to Sunderland, Plymouth, Manchester and London, and Sophia, 9, joined her sister for the run at the Hippodrome. Imy’s experience of touring with the Company, observing the life of the professional ballet dancer, the unique opportunity of watching world class ballet dancers just a few feet away, and being on stage at venues like the London Coliseum, made her even more determined to audition for Elmhurst to take up vocational ballet training, and she started at the main school in September 2010. Links between the school and Birmingham Royal Ballet are strong and integrated with company members taking class for the older students. Children from Elmhurst are often cast in BRB ballets. Take a look at the cast list with your programme and you will regularly see the phrase “Children are drawn from Elmhurst School for Dance, by kind permission of the Principal and the Artistic Director” from year 7 up to the graduating year in sixth form. Imy also appeared in Coppélia during June 2011 with a group of Elmhurst students. She entered the stage on a carriage wearing an amazing golden dress, sprouting a little pair of wings, just so enchanting!

So as summer fades and our thoughts turn to shorter days and Christmas, Sophia is loving her rehearsals along with fellow students from Elmhurst, learning the children’s repertoire for Nutcracker. She is delighted to be part of this amazing ballet, and excited beyond belief about the O2! Our family Christmas will be different this year as Sophia will travel down to London on Boxing Day. Having previously experienced the first class organisation by BRB and excellent care provided by the Chaperones, we are confident that Sophia will have a wonderful experience. Our tickets are booked at both venues, family will join us to watch at the Hippodrome and friends in London will be with us to celebrate and enjoy the O2! We wish the very best to everyone involved in The Nutcracker!!! Thank you to Birmingham Royal Ballet and Elmhurst for giving my children these wonderful opportunities’!!!

Until the production hits the road, you can read more about the children’s experiences on our tour blog’s new sister-site, ‘BRB at Home’.

Click here for details of The Nutcracker at all venues this season.