Ninety-six dancers. That's how many young performers Patricia Hoffman must corral to stage Colorado Ballet Society and the Colorado Youth Ballet's production of "Cinderella."
"It's our pre-professional division," said Hoffman, founder and director of Ballet Society and Youth Ballet. "They're very primed for this. They spend time in class and are excited for rehearsals. It's not a challenge for me to work with them because they're so interested."
The performance is Saturday at Mitchell High School.
Josie Hawkins will star in the title role. The 15-year-old freshman from Liberty High School is no stranger to the spotlight - a few of her past roles include both Winter Fairy and Clara in Ballet Society productions of "The Nutcracker," and she was also a scholarship award-winning finalist in the 2016 Denver Ballet Guild Young Dancers Scholarship competition. She began dancing with Hoffman when she was 7.
"I love the freedom you have to make it your own and how special it is to play Cinderella," Hawkins said. "Everyone in the cast is so amazing and they're so supportive and fun to work with."
This is the Ballet Society's third production of "Cinderella" since 2007. Hoffman called it a "perfect vehicle" for a ballet studio with its large selection of roles mostly for girls, though there are roles for a few boys and, of course, the handsome prince, played this year by a special guest artist - Christopher Moulton, a soloist with Colorado Ballet.
Emma Michaux, a 16-year-old sophomore at Colorado Springs Christian School, will star as Cinderella's fairy godmother. Recently she was a top 10 finalist at the Denver Ballet Guild's 2017 Young Dancers Competition.
Hoffman's students are serious about their dancing skills - Hawkins practices or takes class daily, sometimes rehearsing up to seven hours a day to prepare for the show. That's not unusual for teens who hope to make a career in the dance world.
"They are very self-motivated," Hoffman said. "Most of them are researching on their own companies and opportunities. They usually go up to Denver and watch professional companies that come in. They participate in master classes here and in Denver."