BALLET dancer Laura Day is setting the stage alight in this year’s production of The Nutcracker by Birmingham Royal Ballet.
She’s no stranger to the role though, as this is the fourth time she’s played Clara, the girl whose magical dream delights audiences at the Birmingham Hippodrome every Christmas.
“I started dancing at the age of four, doing ballet, tap and modern, because I had a lot of energy and my mum needed to channel it into something productive!” she said.
“I was very lucky that at the age of 12 I had a teacher that guided me more towards the classical route, and I joined the Royal Ballet School when I was 14.
“I worked with Birmingham Royal Ballet in my last year at school, actually for Nutcracker funnily enough, and we performed at the O2 that year, which was an amazing experience.
“I went back to school that January and on the first day back my headteacher, Gailene Stock, told me I had a job at Birmingham Royal Ballet and that I started work the next day – I literally re-packed all my things and hopped on the train straightaway!”
Playing Clara has also proved an important yardstick for Laura’s development.
“I really enjoyed my debut as Clara but I was a little bit overwhelmed. Each year, I come back with more experience and try to add something new with each performance.
“Also, having the opportunity to work with different partners is really interesting. It makes you a versatile dancer because you have to adapt to different heights and different styles.
“The guys at Birmingham Royal Ballet are absolutely amazing and I love the chance to dance with all of them.”
With The Nutcracker dominating schedules at the moment Laura is working from Tuesday to Sunday.
“If it’s a double show day, I’ll arrive at 10.15am to get ready and warm-up properly for our morning ballet class, which lasts for 1 hour 15 minutes.
“After that, I’ll have a quick practice with one of my partners if we’re coming towards a big show.
“I’ll have a lunch – a coffee, a sandwich or jacket potato and get ready one hour before the show.
“Once the first show finishes, I’ll have a quick dinner and definitely take a nap. I’m known for my quick naps; I find it really beneficial to switch off and recover. I’ll have a tea, some sugar and then get ready for the second show.
“After that, it’s time to go home, have some more food and sleep!”
The Nutcracker is on stage now at the Birmingham Hippodrome with two closing performances on Wednesday, December 13.
Tickets cost from £19 on https://www.brb.org.uk/ or call 0844 338 5000.