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A Student’s Journey From Classroom to Stage

Camille Jackson, a Decade 2 Dance scholar, has performed in The Nutcracker since she was 8 years old and reflects on her first experience with the classic holiday production.

Chicks, Young Mice, Toy Soldiers, Party Children and Stars are a part of what makes The Nutcracker magical. These roles are all performed by students from Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. Camille Jackson, a Decade 2 Dance scholar, has performed in The Nutcracker since she was 8 years old and reflects on her first experience with the classic holiday production.

What does ballet mean to you – why do you dance?
“Ballet has always been a way for me to express myself. I’m not the most talkative, and I like that I don’t have to speak to show my emotions. I can show them through my body, and my arms, and even down to my breath. I can just move and show what I’m feeling rather than having to bring it out in words.”

Can you share your first Nutcracker audition?
“I was about 8, and my older sister saw a flyer at the studio and encouraged me to audition. We researched the requirements; how tall I needed to be and which role I’d try out for. I was of course very excited and watched every Nutcracker video I could to try and learn what I needed to do. The audition was on a Saturday morning, and they had the older pre-professional dancers showing us the choreography, and I loved it of course.”

What was your first role in The Nutcracker?
“My first role was as a Snow Fairy, which was a role in the older version of the Nutcracker. I loved every moment of it. I loved that I got to do the dance for more than just one show. I loved the costume, being around the older girls and the company members and the artistic staff as well. I just found it all so amazing.”

Any advice for your 8-year-old self and other young dancers?
“Stay positive and don’t get frustrated because it’s all going to pay off in the end.”

More about Camille

Camille started at the Centre as a 4-year-old, and quickly worked her way up through the enrollment levels. She was invited to move to Academy III in the 2018-2019 school year and is currently in Academy V – one of the most advanced levels in the Centre’s intense Academy program. Camille will perform the role of Star, the most advanced role for kids, in the 2021 production of The Nutcracker. Camille’s training at the Centre is preparing her to join some of the world’s most prestigious dance companies. This past summer, Camille was invited to study at the School of the Royal Ballet in London.

Camille is currently a merit scholarship recipient of the Centre’s Decade 2 Dance, a select initiative aimed to provide opportunity and access to young students who may or may not otherwise have the resources to pursue a career in dance.

More about Decade 2 Dance

In recognition of the time it takes to advance from beginner to professional, Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education created Decade 2 Dance. This initiative identifies promising young dancers of color to participate in high-quality training with financial support for those who will benefit from it. Decade 2 Dance changes futures through the belief that anyone can take the stage as a professional as long as they have the talent, drive, dedication – and opportunity.

To learn more about Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education, visit https://centre.atlantaballet.com.

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