Young Fil-Am ballerina dances lead role in  Irvine Barclay Theatre’s ‘The Nutcracker’

Samantha Santos         Photo courtesy of the Festival Ballet Theatre                                                                      

SAMANTHA Santos, a 14-year-old Filipina American from Fountain Valley, California, is one of three Claras in Festival Ballet Theatre’s production of “The Nutcracker,” a beloved holiday classic. 

Festival Ballet Theatre is Orange County’s premier professional ballet company and is affiliated with Southland Ballet Academy, where Santos has been taking ballet lessons since she was little. 

Festival Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker Ballet, the full-length classical production, opened on December 7 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre and will have shows until December 24. Santos, shares Clara duties with Sophia Johncox and Bella Do. One of the unique things about this ballet company is that there are always world-renowned guest artists that perform the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier.

Santos is of Filipina and Fil-Chinese descent. Another Filipino American in the cast is Jestoni Dagdag from Long Beach, who dances the role of Mouse King.  The last Nutcracker weekend will have shows on December 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24. Samantha will be dancing as Clara in the following shows: December 21 at 7 p.m. and Monday, December 23 at 6 p.m., In addition, the featured guest artist on December 23 is another Fil-Am, professional ballerina Jeraldine Mendoza from Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. Tickets for the production can be found on Irvine Barclay Theatre’s website,

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