By Amanda Calzada
The Placer Herald
December 21, 2011
Visions of sugar plums transformed from a dancing dream to a dancing reality for the Wiede family this Christmas season.
“Whoever would have thought a mom with three boys would be putting make-up on her kids?” said Connie Wiede, who performed as a “party mom” in Placer Theatre Ballet’s Nutcracker with her three sons earlier this month.
The ballet performance, now a Rocklin family tradition, originated with one son’s interest in dance. Five years ago, the middle Wiede son, Nathan, 10, asked for a pair of ballet shoes and naturally, dance lessons.
His mother took him to various studios, but was turned away because he was a “5-year-old boy.” The search ended with enrollment in a ballet class offered through Rocklin Recreation Department. After some classes, Nathan attended the Nutcracker’s open auditions and was cast in the role of a “party boy”.
In this year’s production, Nathan was the lead dancer in the Chinese scene and held a solo, which included doing the splits.
Just this past Sunday, he and the other lead dancers performed for residents living in a safe house.
Nathan’s passion for performing eventually captured the attention of his older brother. “He started talking about his experiences and it was really unique. He kept saying it was a lot of fun and once I started, I couldn’t leave,” said Nicholas, 12.
Younger brother, Ben, 7, acknowledges that ballet is more fun than he thought it would be. “My friends ask me what sports my brothers play and I say ‘ballet’ and they laugh, but ballet is a sport,” said Ben, giggling.
Last year, Connie Wiede said, her sons began begging her to switch from ushering to dancing in the show. She agreed, but only if her youngest son, Ben, would go on stage with her. Although Benjamin did not perform until this year, a friend from church persuaded Connie to perform in last year’s production. While she misses watching each show, she delights in sharing the stage with her sons.
Each of the Wiedes had roles in both casts of this year’s Nutcracker since parent and male performers are often double-cast due to the shortage of male and adult dancers. For three months, the family attended three rehearsals per week to prepare for their seven performances given Nov. 27 through Dec. 5.
Connie’s mother, Teresa Knapp, expressed pride in watching her daughter and grandsons dance on stage. To her, the experience is “incredible.”
Connie and the two oldest boys have also performed in Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella.
In celebration of their performances in the holiday classic, Connie has been adding a nutcracker to the family’s collection, which now totals more than 50.
The family also has a Christmas tradition of volunteering for the food basket program at St. Rose Catholic Church in Roseville.
Ballet remains Nathan’s passion. As far as he is concerned, more boys should study ballet because “it’s a good experience and builds self-confidence.”
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