Young Lynnwood dancers crack cast of PNB’s ‘Nutcracker’

There may be some misconception that Seattle and the Pacific Northwest Ballet hold ownership over the traditional holiday ballet, “The Nutcracker.”

Well, Snohomish County is infiltrating its ranks — one young dancer at a time.

This year’s performance has two young dancers from Lynnwood performing as militia in the ballet’s action-packed fight scene.

One is a veteran “Nutcracker” dancer at just 11 years old. She speaks with authority when she says there’s nothing much cooler than the fight scene in “The Nutcracker.”

“Last year my class actually saw ‘The Nutcracker’ and they all loved the fight scene, though my favorite personally is the party scene,” said Lily Kotovic, a student at Martha Elementary.

Lily, who has been dancing since she was 3, will perform as an artillery captain this year; it’s a promotion so to speak, but she doesn’t get to fire the cannon.

Though Lily has performed in three productions of “The Nutcracker,” she still is awed by the PNB production, especially the Maurice Sendack sets.

“The scenery, the background, all those amazing drawings — the Sendack set brings it all together and it’s just beautiful, ” Lily said in a phone interview. “Looking at it each time, I see new things. There’s so much detail. It’s amazing.”

Abigail Opper, 12, is a home-schooled Lynnwood dancer performing in her second “Nutcracker” as a member of the cavalry.

As part of her costume, Abigail becomes a horse in the fight scene, her favorite part of the ballet.

“It’s the most actiony,” Abigail said. “It’s really crazy with all the people.”

Abigail, who will audition again next year for the coveted part of Clara, said audiences this year will definitely enjoy the giant growing tree.

“‘Nutcracker’ is a really great show,” Abigail said.

With music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, choreography by Kent Stowell and sets and costumes by Sendak, the PNB’s production draws on E.T.A. Hoffman’s original, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,”

The book inspired French writer Alexandre Dumas and, ultimately, Tchiakovsky because of its timeless charm.

A girl, Clara, receives a nutcracker at a Christmas party; that night her dreams come to life on stage with dancing mice, snowfall and a small army of child dancers.

The scary part of the dream is the fight scene where an evil Mouse King and his army of toy soldiers battle the Nutcracker. During the scene and with Clara’s aid, the Nutcracker defeats the Mouse King.

The PNB’s “Nutcracker” features a huge cast of children.

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutcracker” opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday and runs at various times through Dec. 29 at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center, 321 Mercer St., Seattle.

Tickets range from $25 to $130. Go to or call 206-441-2424.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424;

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