The Nutcracker: Cian Hughes

When I think of Christmas I instantly think of the Nutcracker ballet. It is one of the most magical ballets that I have ever seen from the incredible music to the costumes, storyline and characters; it’s a real treat!

I was born in Dublin and I starting training in classical ballet at the age of 16 at The College of Dance and I later joined the Irish National Youth Ballet Co. 16 is Considered very late to start doing ballet as most dancers begin their training as young as 3 or 4 and before this I had never seen a ballet and I didn’t even know what pointe shoes were!

I furthered my training at Central School of Ballet in London and during this time I was able to work and train with some of the best teachers and choreographers in the U.K and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities that I was given whilst at school. During my 3rd year I was a part of Ballet Central and I toured the U.K performing a mixed programme of contemporary, neo classical and classical works by choreographers such as Sharon Watson, Christopher Marney, Richard Bermange and Mikaela Polley.

Cian HughesI graduated in July of this year and received a BA HONS Degree in Professional Dance and Performance. The first ballet performance that I ever saw was by Ballet Ireland at the Gaiety Theatre. I was completely blown away and utterly speechless.

A year later I had my first Nutcracker experience when I was chosen to be one of the dancing children in Ballet Ireland’s Nutcracker at the Gaiety! I still remember this like it was yesterday and I never would have dreamed that I would now be a dancer with the company. One of the best memories for me was getting to meet Melissa Hamilton (The Royal Ballet) who was guesting with the company in the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. She has always been my favourite ballerina. Being a part of this production was so fun and exciting and it was so great to be able to share the stage with the dancers of the company; who to me seemed like celebrities!

Ballet Ireland has always inspired me throughout my training and the company are one of the reasons that I found my love for ballet. Throughout my time at school I had a big poster that my teacher gave me of Ballet Ireland’s Romeo and Juliet on my bedroom wall and it is a dream come through that I am starting my professional career in my home country and with Ballet Ireland!

I am learning so much everyday being a part of the company and it is so inspiring to be able to watch and work with so many incredible artists every day.

Cian Hughes and Sayako TomyoshiOne thing that I love about the Nutcracker is the different dances and styles that occur throughout the ballet from the Spanish to the Chinese dance. There is huge variety and for me this makes the ballet so exciting. In Act 2 I am dancing the Chinese and Waltz of the Flowers which are very contrasting. The Chinese dance is very cute and full of character and Flowers is very pretty and classical.

They are both really challenging but I feel really lucky to get the opportunity to grow technically and artistically from this ballet.When I think of ballet and what it means to me I find it very difficult. The collaboration of the music and the steps are a match made in heaven and ultimately for me it is the way it makes me feel. It’s hard to explain but when I am dancing or watching a ballet I get this feeling where I simply just think – I love this and I am so excited to start touring The Nutcracker and to make my professional debut with Ballet Ireland.