Fil-Am boy is this year's Nutcracker at Lincoln Center
Every morning, Emil Jose Kelso, 12, wakes up at 5:45 a.m. to be on time for the 8:00 a.m. opening of his public school. Three times a week after school and also on Saturday mornings, he rides the subway to go to Lincoln Center for a 90-minute ballet class from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
These days, however, Emil is staying up later. Starting November 29, Emil started playing the role of the Nutcracker in New York City Ballet‘s yearly performances.
Emil, whose mom Tricia Capistrano is an immigrant from the Philippines, is one of three boys selected to play the role of Nutcracker who turns into a Prince. There are three rotating casts of principal children for the ballet company’s 49 shows. The performances start on November 25 and end on January 3.
Emil has been going to the School of American Ballet for six years. He is currently in the Boys 3 class of the SAB where he attends ballet class four times a week. His teachers include former NYC Ballet Soloist Arch Higgins, Principal Jock Sotto, and Children’s Ballet Master Dena Abergel. SAB and New York City Ballet were founded by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein.
Emil has been in the following New York City Ballet shows: “Sleeping Beauty” (2013), “Swan Lake” (2013, 2015), a member of the party scene in “The Nutcracker” (2013, 2014), and “La Sylphide” (2015). This is the first time he is playing the role of the Prince.
Emil’s performances have won applause from theater sites. BroadwayWorld.com writes that the character Nutcracker that turned into the Nutcracker Prince was “well danced by Emil Jose Kelso.” Black Tie Magazine describes as “charming” Emil’s portrayal of Herr Drosselmeier’s nephew in another Nutcracker performance.
There are four other Filipino Americans in this year’s Nutcracker.
Ruby Cosgrove and Isabelle Nebres are also from the School of American Ballet and will be in the Party Scene in Act 1 and Angels Scene in Act 2, respectively. Georgina Pazcoguin, a soloist performs as Coffee on December 15 and December 20 and Hot Chocolate on December 17. Anthony Huxley, a principal dancer of the New York City Ballet will dance as the Candy Cane on December 17 and the Cavalier on December 20.
It is a taxing schedule for a 12-year-old but for Emil and the other children at the School of American Ballet, it is worth it, said his mom Tricia, a book author and writer.
“After each show, at midnight, in a small NYC apartment, Emil is still dancing,” she said.