TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Nutcracker ballet may be familiar to a lot of people, but for one East Texas teen, it’s a big part of her life.
“I came to TJC when I was 10, I started with a group of my friends, I followed the teachers here,” said Michelle Azzi. “It was my first year doing Nutcracker.”
Six years ago, Michelle Azzi auditioned for the Nutcracker ballet at TJC. She got the lead role.
“I was very surprised; I didn’t even know what it was,” said Azzi. “That was the year I learned it all.”
She’s now 16 and performing in her sixth and last Nutcracker ballet at TJC.
“This year, I’m going to be Snow Queen, it’s one of the main roles in the first act,” said Azzi. “On top of that I’m going to be the lead Arabian. I’ll also be a lead mouse — that’s going to be fun — and I’m also in Waltz of the Flowers and Spanish.”
Five different roles in one ballet doesn’t scare her.
“It’s not very overwhelming, we all have a lot of different roles,” said Azzi. “They’re usually different so we get to experience different parts of the Nutcracker, which is a lot of fun. You have to memorize all of the dances but we all pretty much know it by heart because we’ve been doing it for so long.”
The “we” she’s referring to is the family she said she’s made.
“It’s just been so much fun; the rehearsals aren’t just something you have to go through like a work thing, it’s more like you’re spending the time with your friends and you’re all working hard together,” said Azzi. “It’s more like a team effort and being with them so long, we’ve become like a family.”
She said leaving that family will be hard.
“It’s like going out with your friends but you’re performing a show instead, so leaving that and going somewhere else is going to be hard,” said Azzi. “This is like a tradition, but I’m really excited to be doing it.”
Azzi said she hopes to continue her dancing career throughout college and will be auditioning for different schools when she graduates.
The Nutcracker will be performed at TJC December 6-8.