Young girls nab serious roles in Moscow Ballet Nutcracker

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Carson City dancers Taylor Tucker, left, 14, and Diana Sweeney, 11, have been chosen to dance in the Moscow ballet in Reno.

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Carson City dancers Taylor Tucker, left, 14, and Diana Sweeney, 11, have been chosen to dance in the Moscow ballet in Reno.

Local dancers chosen for the Moscow Ballet's "Great Russian Nutcracker" typically perform one role, but a Carson City girl and a Dayton girl, ages 14 and 11, will dance two.

"It is exciting because you're only supposed to get one part, so getting two parts is twice as exciting," said Taylor Tucker, the older of the girls.

"Our moms like it because only one of them has to drive up to Reno," said Diana Sweeney, the younger girl. "And it's funner because I know Taylor and I can practice together."

The Nutcracker will be performed 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Reno Hilton. Tickets cost between $35 to $60.

Practicing with a friend for the renowned Moscow Nutcracker, which has a professional full-time cast of 50 dancers from Russia and the former Soviet Republics' top schools, is reassuring.

"It's very good, because it's not uncomfortable for me," said Taylor, a Carson Middle School student. "I have someone by my side to help me."

Tamara Tucker, Taylor's mother, said the girls were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to be chosen for both dances.

"They are the only two of the entire group that auditioned and got two parts," Tucker said. "Everyone else got one."

Their Reno dance instructor, Amanda Coulson, who oversees choreography for all the local dancers chosen for the Moscow Nutcracker, said the same thing.

"It's not usual for girls to be chosen for two parts," she said. "The girls, they actually have a wonderful attitude. They are very professional and they are very good dancers with great potential."

Taylor and Diana meet at Coulson's Dancin! Performing Arts Center in Reno once a week for practice. Other local dancers from Reno, Carson City, Minden and Tahoe do the same.

"This is such an incredible opportunity for these girls to work with the Russian stars," Coulson said.

"We get to dance with professionals and it's going to be great experience, and it's a lot of fun," said Diana, a Dayton Intermediate School student.

The Nutcracker, written by E.T.A. Hoffman, is the story of a girl named Clara, whose godfather brings a nutcracker to the family's Christmas party. At the party, the nutcracker is broken by Clara's brother, but fixed by her godfather. Clara later returns to check on the nutcracker and falls asleep under the Christmas tree. Thus begins a dream.

Taylor and Diana will both be in the Butterfly dance and the Arabian dance, in Act Two of the Nutcracker. The Butterfly dance is a waltz and the Arabian dance is more complex and considered interpretive dance. Both are en pointe.

For more information, on the Nutcracker, go to or

Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at mo' or 881-1219.


What: Moscow Ballet's "Great Russian Nutcracker"

When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10

Where: The Reno Hilton

Tickets: $35 to $60

Call Ticketmaster at 800-648-3568 or the Reno Hilton Box Office at 789-2285.

Tickets are also available at Tower Records.


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