Living Arts' Standout Students

Vanessa Galaviz and Alexis Harris in  The Nutcracker  at the Michigan Opera Theatre.

Vanessa Galaviz and Alexis Harris in The Nutcracker at the Michigan Opera Theatre.

We are pleased to share that two of our students, Vanessa Galaviz and Alexis Harris, performed professionally last month in the Cincinnati Ballet and the Michigan Opera Theatre’s production of The Nutcracker.

Vanessa and Alexis are long-time students of Living Arts, each studying multiple disciplines with us including tap, ballet, pointe and jazz, and are no strangers to dancing for large crowds. While Alexis may have been nervous before the first performance at the 2,700 seat theater, once she was onstage “it felt like home.” Vanessa previously appeared in The Nutcracker in 2014 with the Moscow Ballet.

While working with the professional dancers, Alexis and Vanessa learned a great deal. “It was really fun working with professionals,” stated Alexis. “You got to see behind the scenes of a big production. You got to meet people who do this every day and really helped us see how it will be if we further our career in dance.” Vanessa’s favorite part of working on the production was running the show with all of the dancers. “I would get goosebumps,” she said. “It just made it complete.”

From  The Nutcracker: March of the Toy Soldiers

From The Nutcracker: March of the Toy Soldiers

Both young women said the production has solidified their interest in pursuing further education in dance, and possibly a career. “My favorite thing about dance is being able to express yourself in a different way. I myself don’t like to talk in front of people, but given the opportunity to dance in front of people, I do it in a heartbeat” said Alexis. Vanessa agreed, stating that “my favorite thing about dancing is being able to capture someone’s eye. I’ve danced before where after the show someone came up to me and said ‘You gave me chills, you have a gift’ and that just meant so much to me. Not everyone has the ability to tell a story with movement but having that gift is special to me.”

“We are so proud of Vanessa and Alexis.” stated Dance Program Director Marianne Brass. “They are deeply dedicated to dance, and performing in a production of this caliber is a testament to their talent and hard work.”


Vanessa Galaviz is a 16 year-old student at Cass Technical High School. In addition to dancing with Living Arts, Vanessa is a member of the Ballet Folklorico De Detroit troupe, and dances with the Cass Tech Dance Workshop.

Alexis Harris is a 17 year-old student from Western International High School. She is the co-captain of Western’s volleyball team.