A Myrtle Beach native likes taking leaps to end every year.
Dusty Button will play the Snow Queen, Dew Drop and join other corps numbers in the Boston Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” opening Friday for more than five weeks.
The ballerina, who at age 16 moved to study dance in New York and later, the Royal Ballet School in London, has performed and choreographed for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, and her resume of “Nutcracker” roles has included a production for Ballet Hawaii.
Amid the countdown to this weekend after many long days of rehearsals this month, Button took time to answer some questions by email about dancing in her year with the Boston Ballet.
Question | How does joining “The Nutcracker” to close 2012 in your first year with the Boston Ballet remind you of how much work, devotion and perseverance is required to land such a spot in such a premier dance company?
Answer | Honestly, “The Nutcracker” is one of my favorites, and because of that, it makes it very easy for me to perform it. However, it does remind me of how hard I’ve worked, because now instead of performing it as a little girl in South Carolina, I am now in a great company performing that same ballet I first started in when I was little. It’s great to see the progression from when I was younger until now.
Q. | When and where did you first see “The Nutcracker” and later dance in it? Was it a dream discovered in childhood and later lived in teen- and adulthood?
A. | I first saw “The Nutcracker” live at the Palace Theatre in Myrtle Beach. And I was Clara at about 9 years old. I always loved “The Nutcracker” because as a child, everything is so surreal. I still think it is a great part of Christmas, even now!
Q. | Russian born Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky, through such epic works as “The Nutcracker,” “Swan Lake” and the “1812 Overture,” has become such a fixture in music culture among American audiences, year round – or really, at different points on the calendar – and “The Nutcracker” has been depicted and interpreted by so many troupes around the world, such as the Royal Ballet, Moscow Ballet and by Mikhail Baryshnikov’s and other groups. How does each ensemble put its own touch, its own style in this storytelling on stage?
A. | Although every production is similar, same story line, each is choreographed very differently, so I think that helps each company and dancer portray every role individually, which is great. There are so many versions of “The Nutcracker” now that there is something unique to watch every time you see it.
Q. | With rehearsals for any “Nutcracker” production begun weeks before opening night, how do you infuse yourself with that Christmas feeling so far ahead of the formal yuletide season?
A. | It’s a completely different feeling once you have an audience. At the moment, it’s just rehearsals on stage with no audience so it is “work.” Once the audience is here and you hear the appreciation, and see the kids in the audience, the “work” isn’t really work anymore, and there is natural Christmas excitement.
Q. | How is a company’s “Nutcracker” adaptation arranged?
A. | Every director has their own vision of “The Nutcracker,” as does every kid, but I think overall, it is very similar to the books you read and movies you see about “The Nutcracker.” Its a children’s ballet, and it is set out to be very magical in that way. All of the scenes are portrayed with some sort of magical element just the same way you see everything when you are little. It’s a great way to celebrate the season!
Q. | Growing up with dance lessons in your hometown Myrtle Beach, what basics or fundamentals learned a few years ago still come shining through from your legs and arms for you on stage, even if the audience is unaware of those elements shared by all ballerinas?
A. | I think the best thing I learned that sticks with me today is that no matter how you are feeling or what goes wrong on stage, the audience should never be able to tell. You have to keep performing and walk off stage knowing you were 100 percent even if something happens.
Q. | Do parts of ballet in general – sometimes the music, poise or balance – show up in other dance styles, sports and figure skaters’ routines, that maybe the everyday viewer might miss or not appreciate enough?
A. | Absolutely. I suppose the whole point of ballet or any other form of dance is to make it look effortless. There are so many steps that look like nothing to the everyday viewer but are actually quite difficult!
Q. | Outside the studio, what forms of recreation occupy your free time, if there’s any? Anything totally unrelated, such as mountain bicycling, lacrosse or painting (as Edgar Degas found inspiration on the canvas with dancers as his subjects)?
A. | My fiancé and I are slightly addicted to our Xbox, so I always look forward to that when I come home. We just bought our Christmas decorations as well, so I can’t wait to get started. Aside from that, shopping, going to the gym and taking our dog to the park are a few other things I love.
Q. | With your living in Boston, an ultimate sports town, have the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics or when National Hockey League play resumes, the Bruins, earned your fanfare?
A. | Not really, but it is an extremely chaotic city on game days!
Q. | How often does a return home to Myrtle Beach happen? Has your favorite season changed since you lived here? What favorite place to dine beckons your appetite?
A. | Returns home usually happen on the holidays, but this year, my family is coming to Boston for Christmas, which is great. Christmas is still my favorite time of year, I don’t think that will ever change. My fiancé proposed to me in Charleston last February, so every time we go to Myrtle Beach, we always manage to take a drive down to Cypress Gardens, it’s one of my favorite spots now. Another great place in Myrtle Beach that we can’t stay away from is the Japanese restaurant Osaka.