Cornish Preparatory Dance holds their classes and performances in the same spaces as Cornish College of the Arts' Dance Department. This year, college sophomore Reid Rayfield joins the cast of Cornish Preparatory Dance's Nutcracker and talks about that experience.
Reid Rayfield, a sophomore dance major at Cornish College of the Arts, will be a guest performer in the Cornish Preparatory Dance Program’s Nutcracker, December 14 to 16, at the Cornish Playhouse. Reid, who has been dancing since high school, originally comes from Leavenworth, a small town in eastern Washington about two hours away from Seattle. Here he talks about his Nutcracker and dance experience.
What made you start dancing?
RR: I started taking dance classes my freshman year of high school when I got cast in my school’s fall musical. The director was not shy at letting me know my dancing needed some improvements and refining before it made it to the stage. After that I was hooked and kept going back.
What’s one of your most memorable Nutcracker moments?
RR: One of my favorite memories actually doesn’t include me dancing in it. When I was younger, the local studio in Leavenworth would come and perform The Nutcracker to all of the elementary students. This always seemed so magical and marked school being let out and Christmas starting. Having the opportunity to create the nostalgia and tenderness that it brings for others is one of my favorite parts of dancing in the Nutcracker.
How has this Nutcracker enriched your experience this year?
RR: The main way is that through performing in this production I am getting to train with very qualified and talented coaches and instructors. Due to my dance career starting out a bit later than the usual, I have always felt a bit like I needed to catch up to other dancers my age. Getting this training on top of my other classes makes me feel like I am getting the extra push in technique and class that I need/want.
What is your favorite part of the show?
RR: Probably the doll variations in the party scene.
What are some of your biggest dance influences?
RR: I find that my hometown often inspires me, whether that be the pine forests, mountain trails, or my childhood friends…The artistic creations of Martha Graham, Yayoi Kusama, Jack Kerouac, Van Gogh, Stevie Nicks and many more often lend themselves to me for inspiration. Also, [Cornish instructor] Pat Hon no doubt has been an extremely influential figure in my career. She has an incredible understanding of what the human body can achieve through work and perseverance.
What are your plans after Cornish?
RR: After graduating, I know I want to continue pursuing a career in dance performance. I think that this will be more along the lines of modern dance, but we shall see. I have always had a profound interest in Graham technique so I know that Graham is definitely in my future. I still have three years left at Cornish. I know I want to dance forever, I’m just not sure about the rest of the details.
Cornish Preparatory Dance uses many of the same studio and performance spaces as the Dance Department. These community classes for students under the age of 18 are a Seattle tradition, with many families participating for generations in the annual winter and spring performances. Learn more about Cornish Preparatory Dance and its programs here.
The Nutcracker is presented annually at the Cornish Playhouse at the Seattle Center with a cast largely drawn from the Cornish Prep students. College students help fill out a few key roles or assist in the presentation behind the scenes.
The 2018 Nutcracker will be held December 14 to 16 at the Cornish Playhouse. Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets.