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How one dancer went from Houston to the Oklahoma City Ballet

Filed by KOSU News in Feature.
December 11, 2012
 

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The holiday season means something different to everyone. Maybe it’s a trip to a Christmas tree farm, complete with strapping the tree to the roof of the car. Or it could be caroling around the neighborhood. Or there’s the Nutcracker…

Sarah Jane Crespo is just one of about 20 company members in the Oklahoma City Ballet.

“Harlequin, a mouse, a soldier, party girl a few times…”

She’s ticking off all the different roles she’s played in the Nutcracker

“I was Clara, and then I’ve been an angel, I’ve been a snowflake, snow queen.”

Growing up in Houston, Sarah dragged her brother to an audition for a production of the iconic ballet, and soon, it became Nutcracker this and Nutcracker that. Meeting her at a dress rehearsal for the performances in Oklahoma City, she was sporting a t-shirt, with Nutcracker splayed across the top.

“We would all memorize the choreography to the Nutcracker that we learned growing up, put in the CD, listen to it. We have a lot of pictures, oh and the Nutcrackers, we have over a hundred Nutcrackers at home.”

In the latest production, she’s going to be splitting her time between the role of Spanish Chocolate and Arabian Coffee.

“Well we are so full of pride when we see them up on there on stage dancing and really a sense of fulfillment because we know they’re doing what they love to do.”

This is Sarah’s mom, Pamela. She had a problem…

“And my children would want to watch that year round. And it got to the point where every time I would hear the music, I would cringe. And I had to set down some rules: after January we’re no longer listening or watching the Nutcracker. Give us a break and we’ll have to wait until Thanksgiving again to the Nutcracker.”

As I said: obsession. In a house with seven children, you can’t blame her for needing a break from Tchaikovsky and the Nutcracker suite. But she did get a break, at the very beginning.

“The ballet gods, they’re working their magic, right?”

You see, Sarah is Pamela’s oldest child. Pamela had tickets to her first ballet ever….The Nutcracker.

“And labor just started and was going off and on through the day, and I knew that we had to find somebody else to take our tickets. And ended up missing the ballet that night. We hadn’t even left the house because labor started earlier in the day.”

She had gone into labor, with ahem, Sarah. And she had to break the news to her at some point in her life.

“I can’t remember the exact words, but I do know that many times we told her it was her fault we missed that first Houston Ballet Nutcracker.”

“And not only do we see it every year, but we see it multiple times.”

Pamela missed her first ballet because of Sarah, but it’s been a part of their lives ever since. She  says she’s been to close to a hundred at this point. This season is no different, she’ll be in Oklahoma City this weekend, watching her daughter on stage.

Performances of the Nutcracker at the Oklahoma City Ballet continue this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Civic Center Music Hall. More information here.

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Katie Wicks is our resident international superstar DJ. She hosts SpyLab, a dance mix show on Saturday nights and co-hosts the largest weekly dance party in OKC, Robotic Wednesdays. She has had two original dance songs chart in the World Top 100 Beatport charts. She has been hired to DJ in L.A., NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Portugal, Spain and Costa Rica.

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