Most ballet dancers fondly remember the first time they saw ​The Nutcracker.​ Many credit the experience with inspiring them to become dancers.

Not so for Houston Ballet corps de ballet member Andrew Vecseri. “The first time I saw ​The Nutcracker,​ I was actually in it," he said. "I was dancing the role of Fritz, Clara’s brother.”

He was 11 years old at the time. Vecseri had followed his sisters to dance class at Houston Repertory Ballet and had a case of “I-can-do-that"-itis.

“I went to that first class, and that was it for me, " he says. "I loved it.”

Fast-forward to today,and Vecseri is appearing as The Prince in the Houston Ballet’s production of ​The Nutcracker.​ Vecseri joined the Houston Ballet two years ago and has appeared in ​The Nutcracker​ both seasons. He’s danced various roles including Lead Russian, Lead Flower, and the Nutcracker Doll in the battle scene, but this is his first turn at The Prince.

The role is a big step for male dancers, and Vecseri feels the import of the moment. “It’s been something I’ve worked towards,” he says.

Stanton Welch’s ​The Nutcracker​ is opulent and lavish. During rehearsals, Vecseri has found Welch focused on the storytelling aspect of the production. “He’s mainly focused on approaching the role from an artistic point of view," Vecseri says. "Of course, you want to be technical and focus on the movement, but you really want to tell the story. You don’t want to be just a dancer moving on stage.”

Vecseri, who was born and raised in Houston, is aware that there will be little boys in the audience seeing ​The Nutcracker ​for the first time, and that there may be one who, like so many others, says, “Hey, I want to do that.”

“I’m really humbled that a little boy in the audience might be inspired to want to dance, to want to be in ​The Nutcracker,” Vecseri says.​

He has ready advice for any kids who want to dance: “Just keep pushing. That’s what’s going to get you there.”

Nov. 29—Dec. 29. Tickets start at $35. Wortham Theater Center, 501 Texas Ave. 713-227-2787. More info and tickets at houstonballet.org.

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