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A Dancer Marches to Her Dreams

Ten-year-old Francesca Patterson is marching right up to her dreams. The dedicated Seven Locks Elementary fifth-grader played a soldier in the Washington Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker" at the Warner Theater. Francesca, who has been studying dance since she was 2 years old, was first accepted to be a soldier in the ballet back in 2004, when she was an ambitious 8-year-old. She says she got started in dance because she walked by Petite Ballet in Cabin John Mall and the girls in tutus interested her, so she tried it. Without those girls in tutus, Francesca Patterson wouldn't be a soldier in the Nutcracker today!

Her favorite thing about dancing, she says, is being graceful. She's not on pointe yet, but will be in a year. The Nutcracker performances ran from Dec. 7-23. Francesca squeezed in six rehearsals and three performances a week while attending fifth grade at Seven Locks. When Francesca grows up, expect to see our little soldier dancing across the stage — as a world-famous Nutcracker queen!

<1b>Emily Birnbaum

<2b>Age 10, Seven Locks E.S.