MELVILLE, New York, October 30
BY: Andrew Wroblewski
With each step Sarah Gavilla takes, the stage gets bigger and bigger.
Beginning her dancing career with the North Shore Studio of Dance in Huntington Station 10 years ago, the now 14-year-old once took the stage in the studio’s annual production of “The Nutcracker,” fulfilling the role of Clara – a young girl and main character of the show. Then, last year, Sarah took the stage in the same role, but this time for Eglevsky Ballet in Bethpage – where she’s currently a student – on the stage of the Tilles Center for Performing Arts in Greenvale.
Now, the Melville resident is set to take her largest stage yet.
“This past summer we found out that the Radio City Christmas Spectacular was having auditions for their role of Clara in the ‘Nutcracker’ scene of the show,” Christine Gavilla, Sarah’s mother, said. “She made it through a bunch of rounds, through all of the cuts until the end… the final cut where they said, ‘We’ll notify you if you’ve been selected.’ Then, in July I received a phone call.”
The call would end up being one the Gavilla family will never forget. Sarah was cast as Clara in the national tour of the show.
Along with the New York show at Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden Entertainment also puts on the Christmas Spectacular in Omaha, Neb. and Houston, Texas. Sarah will perform in the latter two shows, as they run through Nov. 13-Nov. 30 and Dec. 5-Dec. 28, respectively.
“I’m really excited to start,” Sarah said. “When I was little I used to go to the Radio City shows a lot, probably four or five times, and I loved it. I feel like I might be a little nervous since this will be the biggest stage and biggest audience I’ve ever had – but I think I’ll be able to get over the nerves.”
Christine echoed her daughter’s words, saying that she is “absolutely thrilled” that Sarah was given this opportunity while adding that it’s “a dream come true.”
“There’s only a short time that you can perform this role… It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for her,” Christine said. “For me, there is nothing greater in life than to see my children happy, and she is so happy that it makes me thrilled for her to have this experience.”
Director of North Shore Studio of Dance Danielle Kimmins, of Huntington Station, taught Sarah during her time at the studio and will also be making the trip down to the Omaha show.
“It’s really the most fulfilling thing to see as a teacher – to have the work you’ve put into a young child as they grow pay off and have them bring it to the stage,” Kimmins, a former Rockette, said. “I couldn’t wait to book a ticket… I’m so excited for her. I’ve only ever encouraged her to follow her dreams and I’m thrilled to see her do that.”
Taking a break from her studies at St. Anthony’s High School where she’s a freshman, Sarah and her mother will begin their journey tomorrow when they travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for the rehearsal process. In her time away from the school though, she and the other kids cast in the show will have their own private tutor who will keep them up to date with the school work they’d be missing.
As for the shows, tickets are available for purchase at http://www.radiocitychristmas.com with prices ranging from $30.50-$137.50.
Originally published: Long Islander News: Half Hollow Hills
(Thursday, October 30, 2014; Front page)