Since the age of 3, junior Camille Locke has been in 14 Nutcrackers and four different productions of the ballet.
And this year Locke has one of the most coveted roles for non-professionals in the Sacramento Ballet’s production at the Community Center: a dancer in “Waltz of the Flowers.”
“Waltz of the Flowers” is in the second act. As the name suggests, the dancers dress as flowers.
Locke said her 14 years of experience helped her appeal to the artistic directors, who determine roles in the ballet.
The audition process happened in a ballet class at The Sacramento Ballet Studio, where the artistic directors watched and judged.
However, this year Locke said she wasn’t all that nervous.
“I was a flower last year, so I knew that I’d be one this year,” she said.
The production runs from Dec. 12-22. Locke performs on Dec. 11, 12, 13, 19, 20, and 22.
Locke wears a different dress every show.
Because Locke does not appear in all the shows, she was supposed to share a purple dress with her alternate.
But her alternate’s dress is too big. So every show, Locke wears a dress that isn’t being used.
Locke said the hardest part about her role is timing and spacing.
“The music can be hard to count and be on time for, and because it’s a corps piece, we must all be together,” Locke said.
“The same goes for spacing. The flower corps need to be on their spaces correctly; otherwise the stage doesn’t look even to the audience.”
Locke said she’s on stage with paid company members, who perform in front of the corps members.
“I am there only to add to them,” Locke said. “If I mess up, they look bad.”
Another person she doesn’t want to disappoint is Corinne Binda, one of her artistic directors.
“(Binda) is very specific about the dance and sees all the mistakes,” Locke said.
Locke said her favorite part about performing in The Nutcracker was being so close to the company.
“I was even in their company picture one night!” she said.
The Nutcracker revolves around the story of a young German girl named Clara, who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince who leads a fierce battle against an army of mice.
And one of the “teeny tiny” mice this year is kindergartner Sophia Wells, who played the fourth mouse in four shows.
Sophia’s father, Brooke Wells, head of high school, said she was super excited to be a part of a large, professional production.
He said she especially loved playing backstage with all her friends and was sad when her last show ended.
In addition to the regular show, Locke performed in The Nutty Nutcracker, a show that happens only every 10 years.
This season it was performed on Dec. 11.
In The Nutty Nutcracker dancers are dressed as gorillas, sugar plums, ducks, cat burglars, cross-dressers, and many more.
“It doesn’t matter if the show sells out,” Locke said. “It’s just fun.”
—By Ulises Barajas