Poetry in motion
For Genevieve Bradley, the best thing about having the lead role in In Motion’s Christmas show is all the attention. It’s also the downside.
All eyes will be on her character, Clara, at the Bermuda Nutcracker Holiday Spectacular, the dance company’s annual production.
“I only get a brief break in the first half,” the 14-year-old Bermuda High School student said. “Then I’m on for the entire second half. I’m on stage for almost an hour.”
In Motion’s Bermudianised version of the famous two-act ballet, Clara receives a nutcracker as a gift at a beach party. A hurricane takes her beneath the ocean waves to a magical world where she finds Gombeys, kites and longtails.
Genevieve dances a solo during the production, but is seated for most of it, while the action swirls around her.
“You have to smile when all the other pieces are going on,” she said. “Your cheeks cramp and your feet cramp, but you still have to look like nothing is going on. You have to still look pleasant, like you are having a good time.”
She is relishing the challenge.
“It will be scary to have all eyes on me, but I am going to enjoy it,” she said. “Since it’s my first time taking the lead, it will be a great experience.”
Genevieve played a marzipan in the show last year. She auditioned this time hoping just for a role; she never imagined she would get the lead.
“I thought I would have a piece en pointe, but with other dancers,” she said. She was thrilled when she landed Clara.
In Motion director Lizz Pimentel said Genevieve’s stage presence made her a perfect choice for the role.
“Clara is bubbly and excited about this Christmas party, and Genevieve portrays that very well,” Ms Pimentel said.
“She is a lovely ballet technician. Her pointe work is spot-on.”
Genevieve joined In Motion in 2015 after her parents, Therese and Lester Bradley, moved the family here from Atlanta, Georgia.
She had not done any dancing before. “I was a gymnast,” she said. “But I loved watching dance programmes on television. I thought it would be fun for me because I love expressing myself and performing on stage. There is something magical about it.”
Although she no longer takes gymnastics classes, that early training has proved useful in dance.
“It definitely helps with flexibility,” she said. “It also helps with core work. In gymnastics, you have to have a strong core for beam and bars and that helped me transfer over to dance.”
She spends roughly eight hours at the Reid Street studio every week, taking classes in pointe, ballet and jazz. She is also in the junior company.
“It has really become my second home,” said Genevieve, who also plays golf and volleyball and is in the Debate Club at school.
“I gained a lot of friends at In Motion. You get a really special connection with your dance friends because you spend so much time together.”
The honour student says maths is her best subject, but her favourite class is chemistry. Her parents have warned that if her grades suffer she has to cut down on dance.
“That only acts as an incentive,” she said. “I use every minute and hour as best I can. If I have a break between dance I try to do my homework. If I have an art project to finish at school, I’ll do it during lunchtime.
“I want to become a chemical engineer. If that doesn’t work out, then dance might be a back-up for me.”
She describes herself as outgoing, but also a bit of a perfectionist.
“Everything I do I like to do to the best of my ability,” she said. “And I am very hard on myself when I mess up. Whenever I make a mistake, I try not to show it on my face. That is challenging for me.”
Now she has Clara under her belt, she is not sure what role she will aim for when In Motion does Bermuda Nutcracker next year.
“I will just go with whatever role I get,” she said. “At this point, I am proud of myself. But I might like to be a longtail. That dance is very beautiful.”
Her American grandmother, Patricia Bradley, is flying in to see her perform; her Bermudian grandparents, Stanley Lowe and Josephine Didier, will also be there.
“After the show, I’m looking forward to relaxing a bit over the Christmas break,” she laughed.
• The Bermuda Nutcracker Holiday Spectacular runs at 7pm tonight and 2pm and 7pm tomorrow at Ruth Seaton James Auditorium. Tickets, $45 general admission and $75 for patrons, are available on ptix.bm
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