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Sewickley area dancers take stage in Pittsburgh Ballet's 'Nutcracker'

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Rowan Reyes of Edgeworth said she has found a lot of inspiration while rehearsing her roles as a hummingbird and a flower in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's “The Nutcracker.”

The 17-year-old Quaker Valley High School senior said she likes being around the company performers.

“I look at them, and I'm motivated to work hard so that one day, I can be that good,” she said.

Marjorie Grundvig, PBT School director, said that by performing alongside PBT's company dancers, students are provided with an “incomparable training opportunity as they gain main-stage experience in a professional performance setting.”

Beginning with September costume fittings, students spend more than 60 hours rehearsing with PBT School faculty, in addition to rehearsals with the full company of professional dancers and artistic staff.

Reyes, who has been dancing ever since she can remember, said she someday would like to be a professional dancer, following in the footsteps of her mother and father, Cindy Drayer-Reyes and Andre Reyes, who danced professionally in San Francisco.

Andre Reyes is on the PBT faculty, and Drayer-Reyes was a guest ballet teacher in summer 2012.

Reyes and her family moved from Boston to Sewickley last year. This is her second time in “The Nutcracker.” She played a clown and a flower the first time.

Reyes is among six Sewickley-area students and 170 Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School students, ages 7 and older, who will perform in “The Nutcracker.”

Madison Ray, daughter of Mark and Zena Ray of Sewickley Hills, also said she loves working with, watching and learning from the professionals. She will perform as a panicking, fainting bear and a child on the carousel.

The 11-year-old Edgeworth Elementary fifth-grader is performing in production for the second time; the first time was last year as a child on the carousel.

Also performing are:

• Dana Jensen, 15, a Quaker Valley sophomore, daughter of Gina and Kurt Jensen of Leet, playing a Kaufmann child in the party scene and a child on the carousel.

• Samantha Luttner, 13, a Quaker Valley seventh-grader, daughter of Bill and Lisa Luttner of Sewickley, playing an elephant and a child on the carousel.

• Katie Serafin, 9, a Sewickley Academy third-grader, daughter of Dr. Sharon Hrabovsky and Bob Serafin of Edgeworth, playing a soldier.

• Maria Silvaggio, 8, a student at Sewickley Academy, daughter of Vincent and Susan Silvaggio of Rosslyn Farms, playing a soldier.

“For many of our school families, ‘The Nutcracker' is the most anticipated time of the school year and a huge part of their own holiday traditions,” Grundvig said.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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