The stage is a sanctuary for Alexander Kellum, a 9-year-old fourth-grade student at Mill Pond Elementary School. When he gets on stage in front of a crowd, he is excited but confident in his skills.
Kellum began taking ballet lessons at Centralia Ballet Academy last year as the owners of the school are family friends. Now, he is preparing for his role as a rat admiral in the academy’s production of “The Nutcracker.”
“At first I was scared because I didn’t really want to do it, but I started taking ballet classes, and I enjoyed it,” Kellum said. “My interest in ballet came from me just wanting to be on the stage. I get excited because it really pulls out a lot.”
Kellum performed in “The
Nutcracker” last year as a party boy and has also danced in “Peter Pan.” He has grown up going to the theater and watching “The Nutcracker” and is excited to be the one in the spotlight. His mother also did ballet when she was younger.
“We’ve often helped the studio set up for performances, and so we go down there a lot anyway,” said Kyle Kellum, Alexander’s father. “I think Alexander became interested just from being around all the other kids that were doing it when we were helping out.”
Kellum has been rehearsing since late September, learning from the academy’s owner Mick Guyton.
“We have to go step by step. Once, we do it with Mick helping us, and then he’ll have us go back to the top and do it again without him saying anything,” Kellum said of rehearsals. “We’ll be ready by the time the shows start.”
Kyle added that watching his son prepare for “The Nutcracker” has been entertaining, and he encourages people to come see the show.
“Seeing them start small and eventually apply it themselves is a really nice progression, and seeing that he’s capable and able to do that really makes me proud,” he said of his son. “His ability to put it all together on stage with everybody else watching and not caring that everybody is watching is pretty cool.”
Kellum hopes to continue in the performing arts through school and aims to someday be cast as Uncle Drosselmeyer in future productions of “The Nutcracker.” This year’s edition of the holiday classic will be performed at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2, and at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3 at Centralia College’s Corbet Theatre in Washington Hall. Tickets are $20 for children, students and seniors and $25 for adults. To purchase tickets, visit https://28019.danceticketing.com/r/events/.