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Hard work, dedication build the beauty that is 'The Nutcracker'

By by j.r. ortega/jrortega@vicad.com
Dec. 5, 2012 at 6:05 a.m.

Ainsley Tharp

Ainsley Tharp   Angeli Wright for The Victoria Advocate

Plie. Chasse. Pirouette. And rest.

When all the ballerinas enter stage left in their festive, frou-frou attire, smiles stretched across their faces for Victoria Ballet's "The Nutcracker" on Thursday, one thing should be noted - this effortless performance comes at a high cost of pain, tears and dedication.

Months and hours of practice comes at a cost. Tales of progressing foot and knee injuries, broken nails and utter exhaustion are not uncommon in the world of ballet.

For every ballerina, there is a different challenge. For some, the challenge is physical, for others - emotional.

There is a dark side to "The Nutcracker." A dark side these ballerinas make magically bright when they hit the stage and Tchaikovsky blares overhead. The ballet is a process, but more importantly, it's a way of life.

Four ballerinas perhaps know this better than anyone else. Ashley Fajkus, Ainsley Tharp, Kathryn McCoy and Madison Elder, all high school seniors, are completing their final year of "The Nutcracker."

The four don't know a Christmas without the ballet, but can speak volumes of the work that goes into the production.

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