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By Sheila Reynolds
Surrey North Delta Leader
Photograph by W2 Photography & Design
December 04, 2009


Jayson LaCroix was dubious when he saw the call for auditions.He was in a dance shop buying new ballet shoes and saw the flyer for Royal City Youth Ballet Company’s holiday Nutcracker production. The teen thought it was for professionals. But his mom encouraged him to attend the September audition.

Upon arriving at Douglas College for tryouts, however, he was again struck with a wave of uncertainty. The room was filled with dozens of hopeful dancers, each one seemingly better than the next.

“There was probably 100 people or 150,” LaCroix recalls. “I was kind of skeptical.” That all changed when it was the young dancer’s turn to show what he could do. The 14-year-old learned he was the right height for the role of the Prince in the classic Christmas ballet and faced the panel of judges. “I felt pretty comfortable with it,” he remembers.

That confidence paid off and for the next three weeks LaCroix will play the Prince – along with a variety of other smaller roles – on stages across the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island as the company tours the show. His other parts include those of Big Mouse, Trepak (Russian dancer) and Party Adult.

“I’m also an understudy for Snow King. Next year I’ll be Snow King for sure,” the teen shares, excitedly. The role, LaCroix says, is one of the most coveted male roles in the Nutcracker, next to the lead part of Cavalier. “It’s a big pas de deux section and it’s pretty difficult, so in comparison, it’s the second best, I think.”

As for the prized Cavalier role, LaCroix is hoping to work up to it two years from now. “Right now, that’s a huge step,” he says, noting a 30-year-old holds the part in this year’s production.

LaCroix does online schooling – he’s in Grade 9 – at home through Surrey Connect for three hours each morning, then trains at Goh Ballet for five hours through the afternoon before heading back to White Rock to Spiral Dance for an evening of dance classes. The busy schedule is all pointing to a future in dance that the South Surrey resident says he “for sure” wants to pursue.

Dancing alongside LaCroix for many of the shows will be fellow Surrey 14-year-old Tiffany Roan, who has been part of RCYB’s Nutcracker since she was small. This will be her second year as Clara, the little girl who receives a wooden nutcracker as a gift and proceeds to dream about her nutcracker soldier and his adventures in a magical land of a Mouse King, Sugar Plum fairy, dancing flowers and snowflakes.

Sharing the Prince role is another Surrey resident, Kevin Kreisz, who’s held the royal role (and many others) in past years.

This year’s Nutcracker production consists of a cast of about 130 dancers under the direction of Dolores Kirkwood. Locals taking the stage include Natalie Carroll, Sophia Carroll, Chloe Choroszewski, Elizabeth Eggertson, Sarah Formosa, Samantha Froh, Melissa Maslanka, Kevin Maslanka, Sarah McLennan, Kylie Milliken, Kelsey Milliken, Irina Nelepcu and Katrina Testani.


© Copyright 2009 Surrey North Delta Leader

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