Kent dancer to perform in PNB’s ‘Nutcracker’

Alexa Domenden can't wait for her chance to get on stage in her role this holiday season as a Chinese dancer in the Pacific Northwest Ballet's "Nutcracker." The 14-year-old Kent girl takes the stage in Act 2 as one of four girls who dance with the Chinese Tiger. The "Nutcracker" runs Nov. 26 through Dec. 27 at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center.

Alexa Domenden

Alexa Domenden

Alexa Domenden can’t wait for her chance to get on stage in her role this holiday season as a Chinese dancer in the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutcracker.”

The 14-year-old Kent girl takes the stage in Act 2 as one of four girls who dance with the Chinese Tiger. The “Nutcracker” runs Nov. 26 through Dec. 27 at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center.

“It’s really fun,” Domenden said. “I really like going to rehearsal and getting ready backstage.”

This marks the fourth performance for Domenden in the “Nutcracker.”

“In every performance I know I’m making somebody in the audience smile,” Domenden said.

With plans to become a professional dancer, the ballerina carries a hectic schedule.

Domenden is a freshman at The Center School, a small public high school at Seattle Center that has a focus on the arts and community engagement. She commutes to the school from Kent, partly because it is within walking distance from the Pacific Northwest Ballet studio where she attends classes six days a week.

Domenden has been a student in the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s DanceChance program since the third grade. The program provides full tuition scholarships for students who otherwise might not have the opportunity to pursue a dance career. Her scholarship for this year is worth more than $5,000.

“I could not afford it myself for the tuition,” said Alexa’s father Jerome Domenden. “It’s a great program and they still do it.”

Pacific Northwest Ballet instructors selected Domenden for the program at a tryout when she was in the third grade.

“They look at kids in the third grade for their potential,” Jerome Domenden said.

Domenden had never danced before that third-grade tryout.

“I took the course for a couple of weeks, really liked it and kept going,” Domenden said. “It’s a nice opportunity to grow as a person and a dancer. I try to improve every day.”

The busy schedule makes it a challenge for Domenden’s parents to keep up with her. Jerome Domenden picks up his daughter each evening after her ballet classes to bring her back to Kent.

“I work in Seattle so that helps with our schedule,” Jerome Domenden said. “I’m done at about 5:30 and I wait for her to be done at about 8:30. I put a lot of mileage on our van.”

But the commutes certainly seem worth it as Domenden watches his daughter follow her passion.

“She’s really enjoying it,” Domenden said. “It’s helping her with her discipline.”

The 5-foot-2 dancer spends the couple of hours between school and ballet classes doing her homework. She also attends class each Saturday at the Seattle studio.

Domenden started out as a Level I beginning dancer in the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s student division, but now has reached Level VI as she continues to improve each year. Instructors promote dancers each year based on their technique and strength, two things Domenden works on every day in class. Level VIII is the top classification in the student division.

“Once you go beyond Level VIII you can move into the professional division,” Domenden said.

The Kent girl decided last year that she wanted to pursue a dance career.

“When I go to a performance and watch the pro dancers and see what they do, I want to become what they are,” Domenden said.

If you go

What: Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutcracker”

When: Nov. 26 through Dec. 27

Where: McCaw Hall, Seattle Center

Cost: $113, $84, $73, $60, $47, $28

Tickets:

www.pnb.org


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