NEWS-_Clara_2As the holiday season swings into gear and holiday decorations are taken out of storage, a group of dedicated dancers prepare for one of the most iconic holiday events and at the forefront is a 13- year-old from Duxbury.

Sophia Delia has been dancing all her life. Well, she may have had to wait until she learned to walk, but to her it’s all she remembers doing. Once she discovered her love for dance, she kept exploring avenues to learn more, dance more and perform more.

 

An eighth grader, Delia has been performing in the traditional holiday ballet, the Nutcracker, with the Jose Mateo Ballet Theater for six years. She began her Nutcracker career as a Polichinelle, one of a group of clowns who emerge from their mother’s enormous hoop skirt to do a dance before returning to the skirt. In her third year with the Nutcracker, she was a cherub and in her fifth year she was a party girl, as seen in the beginning of the performance.

Now, in her sixth year, Delia has been chosen as one of six dancers to perform the coveted part of Clara, the girl who goes on a whirlwind Christmas adventure. When she first got the news, she said she was overwhelmed with excitement.

“I went in after class ended and my mom was in the room,” Delia said. “She told me I had gotten the part and I was so happy.”

The ballet is choreographed by artistic director Jose Mateo and is inspired by Tchaikovksy’s Nutcracker score. Over 200 children from Massachusetts and New Hampshire will perform as party children, mice, soldiers, polichinelles, cherubs and angels.

NEWS-_Clara_Nutcracker

Delia travels to Cambridge on Mondays and Wednesdays, where she rehearses for two hours, and again on Sat- urdays and Sundays, when she spends the entire day rehearsing. As exhausting as the rehearsals are, it’s something she loves.

“I love it here,” she said. “It’s an individual experience where everyone can work on

their technique and the teachers give students equal at- tention and encouragement to explore who they are as a dancer.”

Through her professional training, Delia has also been offered a spot to work pre-professionally with Jose Mateo’s YouthWorks, a pre-professional troupe, where dancers travel to festivals and perform the company’s repertoire. The work will pick up in January, right after the Nutcracker ends.

To top it all off, Delia will be performing in the Nutcrack- er’s opening performance, a matinee on Nov. 29. She will perform as Clara in four more showings through Dec. 22.

When she is not performing as Clara, she will perform as a party girl and will function as the understudy for Clara. So far, she said her dance experience has been positive.

“I have found it very re- warding,” she said. “It’s exciting to perform in front of people, especially with friends and family watching. I hope to continue dancing for a long time.”