Ballet plays a big part in freshman Cecelia Emmert’s life.
The 2018 Ballet Midwest production of The Nutcracker marks Emmert’s ninth year performing in the ballet.
Emmert was introduced to ballet at the age of six. “My aunt signed me up for some classes and I continued from there,” Emmert said.
This is Emmert’s first year being a part of Company through Ballet Midwest. “Company basically gives you more responsibility,” Emmert says, “you’re higher up and considered more mature.” Dancers must audition for Company every year. New dancers are given a big sister to help introduce them and get them used to company and when they are older they receive a little sister.
In addition, this is Emmert’s fourth year en pointe. Pointe is a ballet position in which the dancer dances on the tips of their toes. This requires different shoes and requires more effort and practice than dancing on flat feet.
Rehearsal in preparation for The Nutcracker began in October with practices twice a week. The dancers are then given a break and return with practice four times a week. The week leading up to the production includes practice every day except Monday. “We practice a lot.” Emmert said. Some dancers even miss school in order to attend rehearsal. The Nutcracker features a cast of about a hundred dancers, ranging from young kids to adults and includes both men and women.
With ballet occupying most of her time, Emmert still finds time to balance school work and a social life. “I just try to get all of my homework done,” Emmert said, “when I’m done then I can focus on dance.” Emmert said she loses a lot of sleep, but she’s managing to stay caught up.
This year, Emmert will play the part of a Yellow Flower and a Spanish Corp. “I like being flower,” Emmert said. She said that her favorite role would be either flowers or a Hungarian dancer. Emmert’s favorite part of the ballet is Act II when the Russian dancers are performing in front of Clara and the Nutcracker.
Emmert has also been a part of several other ballets including Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and will be a part of Coppelia this upcoming spring. Emmert intends to continue ballet until she graduates high school.
On top of ballet, Emmert also enjoys reading and art. “I really enjoy alone time and music,” she said, “I don’t really do much besides ballet.”
Performances of The Nutcracker will be on the 7, 8 and 9 of December at the Topeka Performing Arts Center, with two performances on the 8th.
— Emma Frey, @_emmafrey_