Young dancers audition for Ballet Arizona's 'The Nutcracker'

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Hundreds of ballet students got the chance this past weekend to audition for The Nutcracker.

Kids ages 9 through 16 donned ballet shoes at the Ballet Arizona Studios to try out for a role in the classic Christmas production.

Ballet Master Joseph Cavanaugh says the company will cast up to 125 kids to perform in three separate performances during the 20-show run.

"You have to be able to learn and execute choreography," says Cavanaugh. "You have to be able to do it to music, and you have to be able to do it well."

The Nutcracker will be performed Dec. 12-28 at Symphony Hall.

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Ballet Arizona offers classical and contemporary ballet performances, and is dedicated to preserving and celebrating classical dance while creating and commissioning new innovative works.

The Company includes a corps of 34 dancers, under the artistic direction of Ib Andersen. A year-round staff of more than 20 provides administrative, production, marketing, communication, and developmental support.