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By Stacy Trevenon
The Half Moon Bay review
Photograph:James Manning
December 16, 2012

JP Viernes, in flight as a Shely Pack Dancers student[Half Moon Bay, Ca. USA] About 80 Shely Pack Dancers students, ages, 2 through 16, will perform the classic “Nutcracker” ballet Wednesday, Dec. 19, at Skyline College.

The Pack students will perform the holiday classic in its full length at the college theater at 7:30 that night. The students have had lots of time to get ready: the pack school held a special summer camp in July to introduce its students to the complexities of the ballet.

Appearing in the ballet as Herr Drosselmeyer is James Manning, husband of Pack Dancers founder Shely Pack-Manning. Also appearing in the prominent role of the Prince is Half Moon Bay resident JP Viernes.

His character is the rebirth of the Cavalier who returns to life after a disastrous battle with the Rat Queen. As such, Viernes has numerous pas de deux dances in the second act, pairing with characters Clara, the Rat Queen and the Snow Queen.

It’s all only appropriate for the young dancer who started studying with the Pack Dancers at a very young age. At 16, he is a student at the School of the Arts in San Francisco, heading for a career in dance.

In between those times, though, he has crossed the country in the traveling Broadway production of “Billy Elliot” in the title role. He performed the role for two-and-a-half years, and in that capacity, made an appearance on television’s “Oprah” show with Sir Elton John.

© Copyright 2012, Half Moon Bay Review

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