By Melissa Murray
The Waterloo Chronicle
December 24, 2013
[Waterloo, Ontario, Canada] – For 12-year-old Michael Carvalho, landing the title role in an upcoming holiday ballet production wasn’t a tough nut to crack. Carvalho is starring in Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s production of The Nutcracker as the male lead, which plays at the Centre in the Square at 7 p.m. on Dec. 28.
An episode of So You Think You Can Dance encouraged Carvalho to start dancing five years ago. It wasn’t one style of dance, he was inspired by it all. “I want to do that,” he told his mom Joanne after watching the show.
While the story line of the The Nutcracker is the same, and depicts a schoolgirl’s dream, this show is a bit different and features Canadian elements, including works by the Group of 7, Mounties and beavers.
Carvalho’s road to attaining the lead role began three years ago when he auditioned for the local cast of The Nutcracker and he was cast for the role of a chipmunk. The next year, he danced as a squirrel, which has “more intricate moves.”
But his biggest role yet will be dancing in five productions as one of three Nutcrackers in the touring cast of the popular Christmas story. He’ll dance alongside three different leading ladies playing Klara while the show tours.
And his family is excited to see him on the big stage now for the third time. “I love watching him perform and to see his progression to being the Nutcracker — I’m super proud,” said Joanne.
It’s an exciting time for Carvalho, who most looks forward to “just being able to perform and work with a professional ballet company.”
He auditioned for the part in September and since then has been thrown into a whirlwind of rehearsals and acting lessons, going back and forth to Toronto.
He’ll be playing alongside other dancers in the touring cast from around Ontario, including Niagara on the Lake, Kingston and Cambridge.
In total, 16 dancers from Waterloo Region will perform during the production.
Even though he’s landed the title role, he’s not finished with the Nutcracker. He anticipates auditioning next year as he builds a portfolio in dance in the hope that some day he’ll be paid to do what he loves.
“I would do it again. It’s really fun and a great experience,” he said.
Carvalho dances with In Motion Studio in Kitchener about four days a week as a competitive student in various genres of dance, including jazz, hip hop, Acro and ballet.
His ballet teacher, Miss Felicity, said she was overjoyed at the news of Carvalho playing the Nutcracker. “I was dancing around. I’m so happy for him,” she said. “He’s always full of life, ready to dance and willing to try anything new.”
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