Slippers instead of cleats

Players trade sports gear for ballet shoes


Story by Anna Graves, editor-in-chief

As people begin decking the halls and blasting Michael Buble’s Christmas album, it is obvious that the most wonderful time of year has finally begun. For local dancers, however, the Christmas season is signaled by something other than twinkly lights and holiday music. This weekend, girls and boys from all over town will strap into their costumes and ballet slippers for the annual production of the “The Nutcracker,” presented by Texarkana Community Ballet.

This year the show has gained a couple of unique performers. Seniors Kip Williams and Nick Kelly have temporarily hung up their football and baseball gear to join the production. The boys will be performing as fathers in the opening party scene.

“Kip asked me if i wanted to do it, and I figured ‘Why not,’” Kelly said. “It’s senior year, and I wanted to get involved with the community and do something fun.”

This was not simply a spur of the moment decision. The boys had actually been planning to get involved since freshman year.

“It’s just trying something new, and that’s why we did it,” Williams said. “Because it’s different, and it gets us out of our comfort zone. It’s been fun doing something that’s kind of weird for us to be doing.”

Having no background in dance, this experience has been quite an eye-opener for the boys.

“The dancing part is weird because you get to do ballet, which we’ve never done before,” Williams said. “And you learn different terms like chasse, whatever that is. I still don’t know exactly. We practice about once a week. We have to watch our kids, make sure they don’t run around and make sure they’re in line. They mess with us all the time, but it’s fun being around all of them.”

After weeks of long practices, the boys will hit the stage this weekend at the Perot Theatre. Showtimes are tonight at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
“I’m really excited about the performance,” Kelly said. “It’s been a lot of work. We’ve been practicing for at least six weeks now, and we’ve had a few three-hour practices. The dress rehearsal kind of got the jitters out, and I think we’re going to do great.”