Try out for ‘The Nutcracker’ even if you’re 80, or older

Dancers perform in the beloved and annual “The Nutcracker” at the King Center.

SENIOR LIFE Courtesy of the Space Coast Ballet Company

Warm up with pliés (deep knee bends) and try out at the open auditions for “The Nutcracker” this year on Aug. 12 at the King Center.“The Nutcracker” is a popular showcase for young ballet dancers from the Space Coast Ballet Company to display their skills. <i>  | Photo by SENIOR LIFE Courtesy of the Space Coast Ballet Company <i/>

The audition times will be posted online on the Space Coast Ballet Company’s website at There is a $10 fee to audition. All age groups are needed for the
party scene.

Principal dancers come from around the world to perform key roles in “The Nutcracker.”

“They come from Russia, New York, Boston, we always have the best of the best,” said Loretta Grella, co-chairwoman of the Space Coast Ballet Company’s board of directors. “Usually we have the two principals, the adult Clara and the Prince are professionals, a total of five people are professionals, the rest is community based. We take from all dance schools. You don’t even have to have been in a dance school” to pass the audition. People 3 years old to 80 are in the party scene.”

Laurie Bollhoefer, 19, was 5 when she started taking ballet lessons and she joined the Space Coast Ballet Company 12 years ago. She’s barely known a world without dance. Last year, she danced the role of Snow Queen and danced in the Waltz of the Flowers as part of the annual “The Nutcracker” at the King Center, which is performed the first Saturday in December with two performances, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“I really like the work you have to put into it,” she said of ballet. Bollhoefer enjoys the discipline. “The more work you put in the more results you see.”

Bollhoefer, a sophomore at Florida Tech, is studying software engineering.

Performing 30, possibly 40 performances, in her young life she said, “I’ll always want to dance forever. Maybe not in the professional world, but it’s a really great thing to do forever.”

Known for its intricate and beautiful sets from St. Petersburg, Russia, “The Nutcracker” will celebrate its 15th consecutive year at the King Center in December. Grella plans on something “extra special” for this year. She would not divulge her secret, but it will be something dealing with the dancers.

This year’s performances will be directed by Space Coast Ballet Company’s striking new artistic director, Artem Yachmennikov, who has an impressive background in ballet. It will adhere to a traditional interpretation of characters and plot.

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