Soren Campagna got hooked on dance after a preschool visit to the ballet. This month, the 12-year-old Fairview-Clifton sixth grader reprises his role as Fritz in the Cincinnati Ballet’s annual presentation of The Nutcracker. It’s not just the promise of a starring role and spotlight dance that draws Campagna to performing, but also, as he puts it, the chance to “act, be active, and tell stories.”
“I’ve danced in The Nutcracker for three years, and its one of the funnest things I’ve ever done. There are a lot of kids’ roles and they’re all special and unique. I was a baby mouse the first year and got to run around and scurry; I was a party boy the next year, and I got to dance a bit.
Fritz is the best because he’s the center of attention most of the time. You get to act and dance, and you get to break the nutcracker.
People have this stereotype about ballet that it’s a girl in a tutu jumping around. It’s so much more than that. In football, as long as you catch the ball and run with it, you’re good—you can run however you want, you can catch however you want. I have a T-shirt that says: If ballet was easier they would call it football. In ballet, you have to be precise and perfect. You need to smile. You don’t have to smile in football.
Fritz grabs the nutcracker out of Clara’s hands, runs to the center of the stage and the spotlight hits him. It feels like the stage goes dark except for the spotlight. The light seems to get brighter. I break it right on my leg, and I stand there for a second and everyone in the audience gasps, “Oh my God he just broke the nutcracker!” That’s really cool.
Fritz’s costume is dark green velvet. He wears pants that come to the knees and a button-up coat. It’s hot and gets itchy. All the boys have to wear these suspenders, they’re behind the coat and sometimes they’ll fall off my shoulders and that will distract me. The costumes are all really uncomfortable, but they look good.”