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Dominik Kurek
Photographs by Nikki Wesley 
The Oakville Beaver
December 03, 2010

 

In life they are a couple of Oakville children who love to dance but on stage they are quarreling siblings ready to dazzle the audiences at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto.

That’s where Emilie Ann Fisher and Sebastian Lecomte will be starring as the siblings Marie and Misha in this year’s The Nutcracker ballet production put on by The National Ballet of Canada, which opens Dec. 11. This is also both of their second years in the major roles.

The two 12-year-olds grew up in Oakville and coincidentally ended up in Canada’s National Ballet School last year at the start of Grade 6. They were cast for the roles of Marie and Misha last year and get to do it again this year, however this time as partners.

But each of them had slightly different paths in getting to this point.

The Burlington-born, Oakville-raised Fisher has been dancing since the age of three and has appeared in The Nutcracker performances with her former school the Oakville School of Dance. Now she lives with her family in Toronto, where they have been living since about the same time when the young dancer began attending the ballet school.

Lecomte, on the other hand, has only be doing ballet for three years, following in the footsteps of his older sister.

“I was pretty surprised,” he said of getting the role originally a year ago. “I hadn’t had much dance training. I just went in there and thought I had quite a bit of a chance but that’s only because I saw my sister do it many times and I kind of developed the feeling of doing Misha.”

His sister, Olivia, appeared in the role of Marie in the national production two years ago and another role last year and is currently in Grade 9 at the ballet school in Toronto. Their parents live in Oakville, while the two siblings live in residence at the school.

Though he lives at the ballet school, the younger Lecomte said he is able to go home to Oakville every weekend.

Despite his short time in dance, Fisher said getting the role is not just about experience.

“It’s fun to know that it doesn’t matter how much experience you have. You just need to know you’re confident with yourself and that you can just perform,” he said. He added that the first year was a bit of a challenge for him, but now, in his second year in the role, Lecomte said it’s about reviewing and perfecting what he already knows.

For Fisher getting the role of Marie is a dream come true. “My mom and my dad were really happy for me because when I was a little girl I used to come see the show at the national and I’d say I want to be up there and now I am. My parents are just really happy for me like last year,” she said.

Each showing of The Nutcracker rotates between four couples of Marie and Misha, of which Fisher and Lecomte are one. Of the 27 runs this year, Fisher and Lecomte will appear in seven of them including on opening night.

Unlike last year when six pairs auditioned for the part, this year only four tried out, meaning the selection was significantly easier. “It wasn’t really an audition. It was more of a learning process,” Fisher said.

Fisher said she enjoys the big role and the experience. “It’s a lot of fun because you get to be in every scene and you have great dance partners and a really good experience. It’s really just a lot of fun,” she said.

Both children said the large crowds don’t worry them when they go on stage. “When I get on stage I don’t really notice what’s in the crowd. There’s a momentum and it’s kind of pushing you into dancing,” Lecomte said.

His partner, Fisher, dittoed the sentiment saying, “I’m not scared to perform because I don’t notice anybody in front of me. I just have fun. I don’t find it as a lot of work. Two hours goes by fast. It’s a lot of fun.”

However, she admits what little stage fright she gets takes place before the show starts backstage when she’s ready to go on. With the lights on in the theatre she is able to see the gallery and the people in it.

However, with that she is able to see some familiar faces. “When it’s curtain call there are a lot of people standing up. You’ll probably see your parents because they’re looking out. Sometimes you see them sometimes you don’t,” Fisher said.

Then the lights come down, the show begins and her jitters disappear.

The music to the timeless classic was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The National Ballet production is choreographed by James Kudelka.

This year’s show runs until Jan. 2. Prices range from $21.50 to $151.50. For more information, show times, dates and tickets visit www.national.ballet.ca.

 

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