WARREN, NJ – Blood, sweat, sacrifice, time and tears.  Katie Lefkowitz, 11, of Warren, will join renowned professional guest artists when she stars as Clara in this year’s full-length production of New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble’s (NJDTE) beloved holiday classic “The Nutcracker.”

Set to the classic music of Peter Tchaikovsky and choreographed by NJDTE Artistic Director Nancy Turano, the ballet features over 55 young dancers ages 7 through 18 from across New Jersey.

Katie, daughter of Ken Lefkowitz and Tracy Mazure-Lefkowitz of Warren, is a sixth grade student at Warren Middle School. A member of NJDTE’s Ensemble Company since 2012, Katie has also performed the roles of Young Party Girl, Bon Bon and Soldier.

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When it comes to performing artists' dedication, dancing is a highly competitive activity that requires great amounts of physical and mental stamina. Young dancers in particular have to make many sacrifices in order to pursue their goals.

Katie said, " I wanted this role since I started performing in The Nutcracker when I was five years old.  I had to sacrifice a lot of childhood fun like birthday parties, hanging out with friends, and family events.  But in the end, it was all worth it.  Dreams do come true."  

Adolescence  is a time to start establishing priorities and styles and deciding what to continue and what to leave aside is a natural part of growing up.

Tracy said, "We are very proud of Katie's dedication and commitment and her ability to achieve this goal that she has worked toward for the past five years."  

Celebrated dancers Morgan McEwen, Scott Weber, Rosemary Sabovick-Bleich, Joseph Fritz, Bradley Shelver, Mario Espinoza and Terence Duncan, from prestigious companies such as Ballet Hispanico, National Ballet of Cuba, Metropolitan Opera Ballet and New Jersey Ballet, among others, join the Ensemble for three performances at its new venue, the Memorial Auditorium at Montclair State University, 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, NJ on Saturday, December 12 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Sunday, December 13 at 2p.m.

For tickets and more information go to http://Www.njdte.org


New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble celebrates over 45 years as a pre-professional training school and performing company. The Ensemble provides mentorship programs and access to master artists and choreographers as role models, providing a network for the dancers to succeed as performing artists in higher education and as professionals in the field. An esteemed advisory panel of the country’s most inspired dance artists supports the Ensemble. Throughout the year, a full schedule of classes in ballet, modern, pointe and contemporary dance for dancers ages 7-18 are taught by faculty from prominent companies and schools, including the Paris Opera Ballet, Limón Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Twyla Tharp and Lar Lubovitch, among others. NJDTE’s MIP & Pre-MIP programming offers advanced contemporary and improvisational skills in New York City for dancers ages 17-22. The Ensemble presents a full-length production of “The Nutcracker” at Montclair State University, annually.