Staff Report //

That “The Nutcracker” is a Christmas-themed ballet doesn’t throw Kevin Silverstein for a loop; he’s perfectly fine lighting the menorah at home but spreading the cheer of another holiday from the stage with the Atlanta Ballet.

Kevin Silverstein (center) performs with the Atlanta Ballet. PHOTO / Atlanta Ballet

“It doesn’t bother me that it’s a Christmas production,” the 16-year-old Atlanta native Pace Academy junior said. “It’s just a switch of cultures – celebrating Chanukah and lighting candles and saying prayers, then going to the theatre and performing.”

The Atlanta Jewish Times caught up with the young dancer to hear about his background in the art

AJT: How long have you been dancing?

KS: I’ve been in the Nutcracker for six years now, but I’ve only been dancing for four years. What happened was, I did Nutcracker for Atlanta Ballet, and after my first two years I started actually dancing, taking classes and everything. I’ve been in “Romeo and Juliet,” “Don Q” and “The Nutcracker.” I was recently in Twyla Tharp’s ballet that she premiered with the Atlanta Ballet [“The Princess and the Goblin”].

AJT: How did you first start performing The Nutcracker?

KS: My sister had done ballet, and she was in “The Nutcracker,” so my mom wanted me to do it too, as a way to gain stage presence and perform in front of a large group of people.

AJT: What do you like most about dancing?

KS: I like performing for a large group of people. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s kind of freeing, I guess you could say. You get to express yourself.

AJT: What are roles are you playing in “The Nutcracker” this year?

KS: This year I’m a “party child,” but I’m an older one, so I guess they call it a “party teen” this year. I’m also doing a Chinese variation where I dance with the dragon, or one of two dragons, and I’m the nephew.

AJT: What do you hope audience members take away?

KS: I hope they take away a memorable experience and are filled with – I guess it’s a cliché, but – Christmas cheer. It’s kind of uplifting. It gets you away from the distractions of life and the workplace. You get the chance to let it go and witness something special.