It is getting close to that time of year when families come together to enjoy the holidays and share family traditions.  A tradition for some families is to attend the Houston Ballet’s annual performance of “The Nutcracker.”  This year the Bounds family has a special reason for going to the ballet: to see their daughter Hannah perform on stage with professional dancers.  Hannah, who is in fifth grade at Eagle Springs Elementary, was selected from more than 30 other young dancers around the Houston area during the ballet’s first open auditions that were held in late September of this year.  Hannah will be dancing and playing the role of one of the clowns at two performances on Nov. 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m.  Although Hannah is only 10 years old, she has been dancing competitively for seven years.  Hannah attends Lake Houston Performing Arts studio in Atascocita where she practices four days a week for more than 16 hours.  Now that Hannah is part of “The Nutcracker,” she puts in an additional two hours of practice per week with the ballet.  This type of schedule leaves little time for other activities, but when Hannah is not dancing or practicing, she enjoys hanging out with her friends, family, and the many cousins who live in the Houston area.  “I want to continue to dance and hopefully earn a scholarship to go to college.  Then after college I want to continue dancing and become a professional dancer,” Hannah explained when asked about what she wants to do when she grows up. For more information about The Houston Ballet and The Nutcracker, visit www.houstonballet.org. Photo: Hannah Bounds preparing for her performance in the Houston Ballet’s Nutcracker. Photo by David Stuhlmiller

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