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Isabel Wiemken
Servite High School’s Alec Mercado ‘23 is a fine example of a driven student who has had to adapt to change to continue to do what he loves during the pandemic. Alec started dancing at age seven when he would spend hours at the studio watching his sister practice. “I was always at the studio, so I just decided I would do it too!” said Alec. Nine years later, Alec is landing impressive roles in productions and placing high in competitions.
Last winter, Alec performed multiple roles in the Long Beach Ballet’s (LBB) production of The Nutcracker, which was voted “Best-Loved Nutcracker in the Nation” by Goldstar in 2018. “Covid definitely changed how we typically do The Nutcracker. Before Covid, we would perform at the Terrace Theatre in downtown Long Beach, which holds more than 3000 seats, and it would sell out for the majority of the seven shows. We would hire professional dancers, have pyrotechnics, a live orchestra, and a real horse,” he explained. Due to health precautions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the 38th anniversary performance was instead filmed over a four-day period on an outdoor set constructed in the LBB parking lot and was made available to stream online.
Despite the limitations that the coronavirus has brought to entertainment, Alec’s studio has provided him safe opportunities to continue dancing. Alec recently participated in the Youth American Grand Prix in Los Angeles where he achieved the top 24 in the co-ed Senior Division.
In addition to his roles in The Nutcracker, Alec has also performed in Coppelia, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Aladdin, and more. “My favorite part about dance is the feeling of getting something right after struggling for years to attempt to do it correctly,” said Alec. Throughout his years in the studio, Alec has mainly focused on classical ballet, but also does contemporary, jazz, Bollywood, African, Character, and other types of dancing during summer intensives.
“I was pleasantly surprised by how accepting and supportive my teachers and peers have been. I feel encouraged about doing ballet from being at Servite and I appreciate that a lot. I sadly have less time to participate in activities at Servite due to the demanding hours of being so involved in dance,” Alec explained about his Servite experience. Alec still manages time to participate in the We Rise Together club, the California Scholarship Federation, and the Trinitas Arts Conservatory. Alec’s most recent role will be that of Sir Harold in Trinitas Arts Conservatory’s Once Upon A Mattress, a comedic re-telling of The Princess and the Pea.
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