WEST WARWICK - A fifth grader from West Warwick is representing the town on the big stage this month. Eleven-year-old Avery Le Fort, a student at John F. Deering Middle School, was cast for the second time this year in Festival Ballet Providence's "The Nutcracker," which just wrapped up a winter run at the Providence Performing Arts Center this past Sunday.

Last year Le Fort managed to snag a spot in the show playing a Candy Doll, and this year she'll be taking on the role of an Angel, dancing alongside seasoned ballerinas and dancers on stage in front of thousands of show goers throughout its run. The auditions were held back in September. Le Fort attended rehearsals through all of October, November and into December.

“I had to go into their dance studio and audition, and a few weeks later I got something in the mail saying I got a part," she told the Daily Times in an interview. "I just loved watching the grown up dancers. It was beautiful. I want to be one of them one day.”

The audition involved the prospective Angels learning choreographed dances which they were later graded on.

But she isn't new to the stage. Le Fort is a dancer for Let's Dance Academy in West Warwick and East Greenwich, and has represented her studio in various competitions, most recently the Elite Dance Challenge National Competition in Providence in July where she was part of the Junior Elite Performance Team.

On December 20 the students on her school team, Frias/Bernadyn, took a trip to PPAC to watch their classmate perform on the big stage.

“It was kind of fun to have them see me on stage," Le Fort said of the experience. "My dad and my mom were there too. I just love going on stage and being myself and loving what I'm doing up there. I think I'll audition again next year.”

She won her first title crown in 2016 for the Petite Miss Dance Ovations Competition. She's also received her second National Dance Title Crown for the Dance Ovations Performing Arts competition and is currently the 2018 Little Miss Dance Ovations.

“I started dancing when I was two and started competitions when I turned 4," Le Fort said. "My favorite dance styles are contemporary and hip hop. Contemporary is very lyrical combined with jazz. I also like ballet.”

This year marked the 41st annual performance of "The Nutcracker," and the 21st show for Mihailo Djuric, Artistic Director. As an Angel, Le Fort had the opportunity to perform in several different scenes with her group. Her costume consisted of a purple gown with gold accents and a pair of wings, her hair pulled into a high bun with a halo around it.

“I mostly had to shuffle around on the stage," she said of her role. "I get a little nervous because it's a bigger crowd than I've ever had in my competitions but I love being up there."

One of her favorite things to do during rehearsals was watch the ballerinas go "en pointe," a ballet technique where dancers stand on the tips of their toes in their pointe shoes while supporting all of their body weight. It requires a good deal of strength and years of practice to perfect.

“I had never seen The Nutcracker before," said Le Fort. "It's pretty cool to see the other actors. I really look up to them.”

Though the show wrapped up its final performance Sunday afternoon, Le Fort is also playing a role in Deering Middle School's production of "Freaky Friday," a musical set to open in March. She was selected for the role of one of the main character's best friends.

One day she hopes to become a professional dancer and dance teacher.

Follow Kendra Port on Twitter @kendrarport

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