Newcastle dancer performs in ‘Nutcracker’

December 6, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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Few things signify that it’s the holiday season in the Northwest more than a trip to McCaw Hall to dazzle in the magical experience that is the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutcracker.”

It’s one of the most recognized and celebrated productions in the world, complete with graceful dancing, stunning props and the familiar sounds of Tchaikovsky’s distinguished score.

The show premiered in 1983 and it has continued to enchant audiences ever since.

By Lindsay Thomas
Caitlin Buri, of Newcastle, tries on her costume during dress rehearsals for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker.’

For the past three years, 10-year-old Newcastle resident Caitlin Buri has been a part of the cast that brings holiday cheer to patrons across the Northwest.

This year, Caitlin will perform as a toy theater girl.

“I’ve performed in ‘Nutcracker’ before and it’s really fun,” she said. “This year, I have a longer part, and so I’m really excited about that.”

Caitlin began dancing when she was just 3 years old. She showed enough promise that she was able to enroll in the Pacific Northwest Ballet School as a kindergartener, and she’s been there for the past five years.

“She is in ballet with people that are at least a year, if not two years older than her in her level,” Angelica Buri, Caitlin’s mother, said. “So, besides loving it, she really is wonderful at it.”

The time commitment required of a dancer at Caitlin’s level is significant. In addition to her attendance at a regular elementary school, she has dance class four days a week for nearly three hours a day. This does not include the extra rehearsals that came with her role in “Nutcracker.”

Rehearsals for “Nutcracker” are about an hour long, two hours long if it’s a dress rehearsal.

“Rehearsals are fun,” Caitlin said. “The teacher makes up a lot of jokes about it so he makes it more fun, but we all work really hard.”

Caitlin said she does not mind the extra work since dancing is her passion.

“It’s fun to dance around, and I like it, and I’m pretty good at it,” she said.

Caitlin’s schedule requires a lot of driving around. Her dad, Steve Buri, joked that it was almost as if he and Angelica were her personal chauffeurs.

But the Buris couldn’t be prouder of their little dancer.

“She loves it, and it’s inspiring to go and listen to the principal dancers talk about how they got started,” Angelica Buri said. “A ballerina is not something that every girl can grow up to be, but if you’re wonderful and that’s what you want to do, then you know I support her in whatever she chooses to do.”

With Caitlin’s appearances in the “Nutcracker,” the show has become an important tradition in the Buri household. The family plans to attend opening night to watch Caitlin perform.

“They always have the advertising about how great it is, how magical it is to be a child and go watch it, and I think the neat part is that the experience is magical, even for the people that are in it,” Angelica Buri said. “It’s a big part of the holidays for her and as many performances or rehearsals she may have, that’s what the holiday season is for a ballerina.”


If you go

  •  ‘Nutcracker’
  •  McCaw Hall, Seattle Center
  • Dec. 7-29
  •  Tickets: $25 – $130
  •  Purchase in person at 301 Mercer St., by calling 206-441-2424 or at
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