Six Elementary School Students perform in ballet

American Repertory Ballet (ARB), New Jersey’s premier professional ballet company, will return to Rahway, N.J., this year with two performances of Nutcracker at Union County Performing Arts Center. ARB is celebrating its 54th year of this classic holiday ballet. Furthering its connection with the local Rahway community, American Repertory Ballet held auditions and selected local Rahway children ages 6-10 years old to perform alongside its professional dancers in Nutcracker on Saturday, November 19 at 2 p.m., and Sunday, November 20 at 1 p.m.
The mice take part in the ballet’s famous Act I Battle Scene. The main character, Clara, dreams that tiny mice in her living room grow into giant rats and confront an army of toy soldiers and the Nutcracker Prince.
The six children performing as this year’s Community Mice are Makayla Addisyn Slater, Raquelle Reinoso, and Hailey Lynn Gatling, students at Madison Elementary School; Mia Pravia, a student at Roosevelt Elementary School; as well as Sophia Kendall Douglas and ZoС Collins- Murphy, students at Grover Cleveland Elementary School.
“We are delighted to have the Rahway Community Mice for the third year” says Douglas Martin, Artistic Director of American Repertory Ballet. “These lovely young dancers get a chance to perform on stage with professional dancers of American Repertory Ballet and students from our affiliated school, the Princeton Ballet School, in the professional production of Nutcracker. It is an experience they will hopefully never forget.”
The mission of American Repertory Ballet is “to bring the joy, beauty, artistry, and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences through public performances, and to dance students through artistic and educational programs.” This year’s Community Mice Initiative aims to fulfill this mission in an immersive way that introduces children to a professional environment and challenges them to achieve performance goals.
In a continuing effort to reach all community members, ARB offers a Sensory-Friendly performance of Nutcracker on Sunday, November 19, at 1 p.m. at UCPAC. This abridged, one-hour performance is especially for children and adults with special needs and is made possible by the Union County Freeholders as part of the UC Sensory- Friendly Theatre series. For tickets, visit online at or call (732) 499-8226. Union County Performing Arts Center is located at 1601 Irving Street, Rahway.

(above l-r) The six children who performed as this year’s Community Mice are Makayla Addisyn Slater, Raquelle Reinoso, and Hailey Lynn Gatling, students at Madison Elementary School; Mia Pravia, a student at Roosevelt Elementary School; as well as Sophia Kendall Douglas and Zoë Collins-Murphy, students at Grover Cleveland Elementary School.