Native Australian and Gaudet Middle School eighth grader Charlotte Seymour, 13, has adjusted to life in America quite well, recently landing the role of Clara in "The Nutcracker" by Festival Ballet Providence.
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (NOVEMBER 10, 2021) – Some people would rather avoid the spotlight.
Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Seymour embraces it.
Recently, the Gaudet Middle School eighth grader was selected for the role of Clara in the holiday classic “The Nutcracker” by Festival Ballet Providence.
Scheduled to run Dec. 17-24 from The Vets in Providence, Charlotte said she’s been putting in long hours getting ready for the shows – and loving every minute of it. For tickets or information, visit https://festivalballetprovidence.org online.
“When I’m up in front of a crowd, I don’t really think about it,” Charlotte said. “I’m there to do ballet and that’s what I do. I love to dance. I can’t remember a time when that wasn’t true.”
The daughter of Ted and Jenn Seymour, Charlotte and her family are from Canberra, Australia, but living in Middletown for a year. That’s because her father is a Commander in the Australian Navy and enrolled at the Naval War College in Newport. Charlotte’s sister Victoria is a fifth grader in the Gaudet Learning Academy.
Living and vacationing previously in the United States, Charlotte said she’s enjoyed her eighth-grade experience at Gaudet.
While some aspects of teenage life are very different than home, much of it is familiar. Kids like to eat most of the same foods, the clothing is similar and music and entertainment are in the same ballpark, but there is more homework here.
“Sometimes I hear ‘What part of Britain are you from?’” Charlotte said, laughing, referring to her distinctive accent. “I just shake my head and explain that ‘No, I’m not from Britain or New Zealand.’”
Dancing since the age of three, Charlotte said she’s part of a rigorous program in Australia under the lead of Principal Kim Harvey, where she’s tested every year before she can move onto the next level.
Knowing she wanted to dance when in America, Harvey and Charlotte’s mother combed the internet, searching for the best, most highly regarded program they could find within an hour of Middletown.
Consistently, the Festival Ballet Providence kept coming up, so Charlotte joined up and once she arrived stateside, she tried out for “The Nutcracker.” To her surprise, she landed the top children’s role along with Cynthia Van Pelt of Newport.
“When I heard it, I couldn’t believe it,” Charlotte said, her eyes beaming. “It’s easily my biggest role and I’m learning so much.”
Working with professional dancers has been really rewarding and everyone has been helpful, Charlotte said. To get ready for the mid-December run, Charlotte has been making the trip to Providence every day other than Fridays and the occasional off day to practice.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s what I want to do,” Charlotte said. “I’ve always loved to do ballet and it’s so great to know when you’re connecting with an audience and putting on a good performance.”
Sitting in during the interview, Jenn Seymour spoke proudly about all her daughters have accomplished during their American adventure.
“I am very proud of both of them, coming to another country halfway across the world in the middle of a pandemic and embracing everything about it,” Seymour said. “For Charlotte, that’s been ballet and the ballet life. She’s done everything that’s been asked of her and more and done it all with a smile on her face.”
Gaudet Principal William Niemeyer said the entire school community was rooting for Charlotte.
“The students, teachers and staff at Gaudet are very excited for Charlotte, and her role in ‘The Nutcracker,’” Niemeyer said. “With both talent and hard work, she earned a role that many dream of. We are very proud of her and look forward to watching her shine this holiday season.”
As for the future, Charlotte said she can’t imagine a time when she wasn’t dancing, particularly her beloved ballet. And if not dancing, then acting, she said.
“Looking back, it’s amazing where dance has taken me,” Charlotte said. “It’s opened so many doors, but none of it would have been possible without the support of my family and people like Ms. Kim and (Festival Director of Dance Education) Marissa Parmenter and (Festival Artistic Curator) Yury Yanowsky. I feel very lucky to be working with all of them.”