Young OCSA Writers Won the Nutcracker 2021 Art & Essay Contest!


2 OCSA Creative Writers won the Nutcracker 2021 Art & Essay Contest.

Emilyanne Richart, Reporter

The Central Florida Ballet recently announced the winners for their Nutcracker 2021 Art & Essay Contest. Middle school Creative Writer, Maia Klahr, won first place for the short story/poem category and won four tickets to The Nutcracker. Additionally, Senior Creative Writer, Nikolai Crowder, won 3rd place in this category and will be attending the upcoming ballet with two prize tickets.

This is quite the accomplishment for young Maia Klahr, a sixth grader who won first place in a participant pool full of elementary, middle, and high school students from around Central Florida. In response to receiving the exciting news, Klahr says that she, “couldn’t believe it” and that her mouth fell open in disbelief.  Klahr states that she “loves writing and ballet, so [this competition] was the perfect mix.” Her poem, “The Show That I Love,” is about an audience member observing the beauty of the Nutcracker Ballet and wishing that they could join the dancers on the stage. Once she sees the Nutcracker, she can check it off of her bucket list. But, this accomplishment is simply the first of many. Klahr plans on pursuing her art further in the future, stating that she “loves writing a lot and it’s just something that [she’s] always been good at.”

The whimsical Nutcracker Ballet is a must see for those who want to immerse themselves within this winter season. Nikolai Crowder, the 3rd place winner, is ecstatic to revisit the performance he grew up watching and plans to share this experience with his little brother. Crowder entered the contest in hopes of lifting his little brother’s spirits after his school cancelled their in-person trip to see the ballet last minute. And now, thanks to Crowder’s poetry, the brother duo has the chance to create this artistic memory together. Crowder states that he is excited to see “art bloom” within the performance as well as in his little brother’s artistic endeavors.

Crowder appreciates the ballet’s influence on many young artists. He states that many kids grew up watching the Nutcracker Ballet, and to many, it was their “first introduction to true, formal, art.” He says that although he didn’t fully understand the ballet when he was young, he was still able to see the “impact of art” when viewing the performance. Crowder’s winning poem was a “Love Letter to the Inspiration the Ballet Brings.” He experienced this inspiration firsthand and now has the opportunity to observe this same inspiration within his little brother. He says that the ballet “brought to life this spark” in his brother even when he was only viewing a shortened, recorded version.

Congratulations to all the winners!