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By Lisa Queen
Inside Toronto
June 16, 2011

Michael Moreno is making his way up in the animal kingdom. Last December, the Grade 3 student at York’s Portage Trail Junior Community School was a mouse in the National Ballet of Canada’s The Nutcracker.

Now, the nine-year-old is appearing as a hedgehog in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a sold out co-production between the National Ballet of Canada and Britain’s Royal Ballet, based on the classic tale by Lewis Carroll.

Michael performed opening night June 4 and makes an additional four appearances before his last performance at the matinee on June 25, which is closing night.

He has to miss a scheduled June 23 performance because he is appearing in a year-end recital with his dance studio, Danceology.

In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Michael is the second of four hedgehogs. The critters come on stage hunched over and holding hands. They are being followed by a man with an axe who is going to force them to be used as balls in the Queen of Heart’s croquet game.

A bit later, Michael is the first of three hedgehogs to roll from behind a hedge as the creatures try to escape their fate as croquet balls.

Later still, during a trial where the Knave of Hearts is accused of stealing the Queen’s tarts, the Queen’s guards turn the jury box around to discover Michael enjoying a jam tart.

The Queen tries to chase him but he escapes off stage.

Michael, who last September was accepted to the National Ballet School’s junior boys B program, is thrilled to be in the production. Not only is the dancing fun, but he has time on stage to watch the other characters play out the entertaining story. “There are some people like the Mad Hatter with caps and Alice and the Queen and the rabbit and hedgehogs,” he said. “The best part is…I like the music and the scary parts. It is very fun and it is good to be on stage.”

Fortunately, Michael doesn’t suffer from stage fright.

An added bonus of appearing in Alice is the young performers are permitted to do a group children’s bow at the end of the ballet.

Michael has been dancing since the age of four. In addition to ballet, he enjoys acro, jazz, hip hop and tap.

© Copyright Metroland 2011

See Also: Young dancer leaps at chance to appear in The Nutcracker


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