Lauren Carmen has had her hand in The Nutcracker in various ways for years. First, she danced in Nolte’s production. Now, she dances in Ballet Quad Cities' production. As her experience comes full circle, she is also Nolte’s Nutcracker assistant director and lead costumer, updating attire for our newly reimagined production.
During this busy season, Lauren’s day begins at 6 a.m. with her own training and rehearsal. She’ll then grab a quick dinner before sewing Nolte’s costumes until well past midnight. The work doesn't stop on the weekends. On Saturdays she returns to Nolte to teach, then does more costume work for the rest of the day.
Though the hours are long, Lauren credits her Nolte Nutcracker rehearsals for her readiness to take on the professional world. "Nolte Nutcracker rehearsals gave me a taste of what life as a professional dancer would be like," said Lauren. "It showed me that indeed I did want to continue to pursue that route.”
After a year with Joffrey Chicago, Lauren attended college at The University of Oklahoma, one of the top three college ballet programs in the country. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2016 with a BFA in Ballet Pedagogy, minor in French, and emphasis in Costume Design.
As she prepares for her own Nutcracker performance with Ballet Quad Cities, Lauren has some advice for Nolte Nutcrackerdancers now and in the future. "No matter how 'big' or 'small' the role, you were cast as you were because someone saw something special in you,” Lauren said. “And they thought you could bring something wonderful to the part."
Lauren also advises dancers to cross-train their dance styles. “Bunheads,” she said. "Get into your modern classes! Try new things, challenge yourself, explore!"
LAUREn: Nolte academy wishes you the very best of luck in your own performance! and of course, a huge thank you for all of your hard work for nolte.