Lewistown native to perform ‘Nutcracker’ at nation’s capital

Charlie Denison

Patric Palkens, left, and Abigail Morwood dance during a 2015 rendition of the “Nutcracker” at the Cincinnati Ballet. Palkens, a Lewistown native, will be performing in the “Nutcracker” at Washington D.C.’s renowned Kennedy Center this week.

Photo courtesy of Janet Luciano

Patrick Palkens isn’t a dodo bird this time.

He’s out of the rabbit hole.

Last year, the Lewistown native and Cincinnati Ballet dancer got the opportunity to perform at the world-renowned Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as a dodo bird understudy in a production of “Alice in Wonderland.” This year, Palkens is performing again at the Kennedy Center, but this time he has a much more natural role: the Snow King in the “Nutcracker.”

“It’s a big dancing part,” said Janet Luciano, Palkens’ mother and Lewistown Dance Syndicate director.

Luciano said she is very proud of her son and is excited to see him perform in the nation’s capital.

This is an exciting opportunity for Palkens, Luciano said, and for the Cincinnati Ballet.

 “Each year, the Kennedy Center picks one ballet company to perform the Nutcracker during the holiday seasons,” Luciano said. “They call them the ‘esteemed’ company. This year Cincinnati was picked. They’ll perform seven shows from Nov. 23 to Nov. 27.”

Luciano said Palkens has come a long way since his upbringing in Lewistown. He’s danced all over the world, having just spent a lot of time dancing in Europe.

“He was performing in Europe when he got the call from a director he used to work with to fill in as a dodo bird,” Luciano said. “That was a real on-the-fly type deal. He got the video Monday, got on a plane Tuesday, rehearsed Wednesday and danced a show Thursday night with total strangers. It was that fast.”

 Palkens is a phenemonel performer, Luciano said, and he’s returned to Lewistown and performed as part of the “Nutcracker” a number of times in the past.

Luciano said she can’t wait to see Palkens perform on such a prestigious stage.

“A boy from little ol’ Lewistown performing at the Kennedy Center,” she said. “It’s pretty cool. It’s wonderful to have this kind of opportunity. He deserves the recognition.”



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