Bay Ridge’s prima ballerina

November 29, 2011 Denise Romano
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Fiona Brennan is not just your ordinary ballet student.

The young Ridgeite has broken into the big time, starring asMarie in the New York City Ballet’s production of The Nutcrackerat Lincoln Center for the second year in a row.

It’s a great opportunity, the fifth-grader at P.S. 102 said.It’s really fun to do.

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Brennan started studying at the School of American Ballet,located at Lincoln Center, when she was seven. She had small partsin The Nutcracker two years ago and also starred as Marie lastyear.

But this year’s production is really her big break. Aperformance of the show will be shown live in theaters worldwidefor the first time ever, as well as on PBS on December 14.

The techniques that Brennan has been learning are those ofRussian choreographer George Balanchine, who co-founded the schoolback in 1934 with philanthropist Lincoln Kirstein. All students areaccepted to the school only by auditioning and go on to learnclassical ballet.

According to the institution, American School of Balletgraduates make up 90 percent of the New York City Ballet. Famousalumni include Sarah Jessica Parker, Megan Mullally, VanessaCarlton and Macaulay Culkin.

Brennan does not let all of the bright lights faze her.

It’s really fun to learn how to do what the teacher wanted usto do, she confided. I learned different techniques that Iwouldn’t have learned at any other school. It’s amazing.

This year, also, her local friends will have the opportunity tosee what Brennan can do, in person. Brennan’s classmates at P.S.102 will watch her morph into Marie at Lincoln Center on November30.

Sometimes before the first show I get nervous, but after Istart [dancing], I tell myself that I have been doing this formonths, she said, adding that she makes the trip from Bay Ridge toLincoln Center to practice about five to six days a week. But it’sreally fun to go on stage and do what you have beenrehearsing.

Brennan’s favorite subjects in school are reading and writing.She also plays soccer. But I dance whenever I can, she said.

When it comes to looking at junior high, Brennan has set hersights on Christa McAuliffe Intermediate School (I.S. 187) or theGenesis Program at Xaverian High School.

Xaverian is right down the block from me, so that’s veryconvenient, the level-headed tween said.

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