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Parks and Recreation Department’s “The Nutcracker” Is What Sweet Dreams Are Made Of

In “The Nutcracker,” a girl named Clara has a satisfying dream after a holiday party. In it are the Sugar Plum Fairy, mice, snowflakes, Spanish chocolates, Chinese tea, ribbon candy, a peacock, colorful flowers and of course, the Nutcracker Prince.

With performers in three casts, the City of Santa Clara’s Parks and Recreation Department ran “The Nutcracker,” its annual ballet show set to P. I. Tchaikovsky’s music, at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts from Dec. 14-16. The Dec. 12 dress rehearsal featured mostly members of Cast B who have been diligently preparing for the show since August.

Kimberly Davey, Ballet Instructor, trained the student dancers. Known as Miss Kimberly to her students, Davey has been teaching at the Parks and Recreation Department for 16-and-a-half years.

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“Twelve years ago, I decided to start ‘The Nutcracker,’” said Davey of the show’s origins in the Parks and Recreation Department. “The first year, we only had about 100 children in it, and now we have about 240 children performing in the show with a giant wait list. ‘The Nutcracker’ is mainly for young kids up to 18-year-olds. I do have adult ballet classes and some of my adult students participate in ‘The Nutcracker’ too. I like teaching here because I can foster a non-competitive environment where children can all support each other.”

In “The Nutcracker,” Davey’s students perform a variety of ballet moves.

“I have young kids do a lot of repetitive movements, such as the tendu (extending the leg to the front, the back or the side, straightening the knee and pointing the toes) and pas de chat (a small jump in the air with the knees going to the side),” Davey said. “Older girls do the fouette turns (repetitive whip turns), grande jete (large leaps) and also pointe ballet.”

Davey started learning ballet at four years old.

“The doctor told my mom to let me do ballet because I was pigeon toed and ballet is supposed to turn out the toes,” Davey said. “So when I was six years old, I was accepted on scholarship to San Francisco Ballet School. My mom would drive me from San Jose to San Francisco so I could attend class.”

At 17, Davey began dancing professionally with the San Francisco Ballet Company and later, with Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet Company. Davey also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Santa Clara University. Today, Davey relives cherished memories when she directs “The Nutcracker.”

“I’ve performed ‘The Nutcracker’ for 25 years with the San Francisco Ballet School and Company and with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Company,” Davey said. “I’ve done every role there is to do in ‘The Nutcracker.’ I started as a Bon Bon. I played Clara, the Snow Queen, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Peacock. Having started doing ‘The Nutcracker’ at age six, my holidays were defined by ‘The Nutcracker.’ It was so magical for me as a child.”

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