A magical fit for Clara

By ANNE WOOD

MBJH student Elizabeth Lindsey will play Clara for a second year in the Birmingham Ballet production of The Nutcracker. Photo courtesy of the Birmingham Ballet.

Elizabeth Lindsey traded in her ballet shoes for soccer cleats when she was only 3 years old.

At age 10 she put on the ballet shoes again, and the first role she auditioned for she got. After only two and a half years of dance experience she was cast as Clara in The Nutcracker.

“She had tried everything,” her mother, Frances Lindsey, said. “She played soccer and other things for a while and tried a couple of different dance studios.”

Nothing seemed to stick the way ballet dancing did, though. Today, in her fourth year in The Nutcracker and her second year as Clara, Elizabeth has grown to know and love the story.

“My favorite part is the pas du trios,” she said. “It’s where me, the Nutcracker, and Drosselmeyer all dance together and get to do partnering.”

Elizabeth, who attended a prestigious, three-week summer intensive dance program in Philadelphia, has continued to impress her family, friends and choreographers with her skill in spite of the lack of experience.

“I remember when Elizabeth first auditioned for The Nutcracker about three years ago,” Birmingham Ballet Director Cindy Free said. “Even then, as a Gingersnap, she stood out as a promising and dedicated student. I’ve enjoyed teaching her at Birmingham Ballet Academy and seeing her progress into such a proficient young dancer as well as a smart young woman. The future is very bright for Elizabeth.”

Her performance is due in part to the countless hours she dedicates to dancing. Elizabeth, an eighth grader at Mountain Brook Junior High, is able to manage her studies, 18 hours a week of dance practice and still have time to see her friends.

“I am amazed that she does all this and still keeps an A/B average,” her mother said. “If the grades were being affected, then it would be too much.”

Not only does Elizabeth show no signs of slowing down, she truly enjoys the long practices.

“I wish I could do more,” she said.

“She really does absolutely love it,” her mother said. “When [your kids] find their thing, as a parent, you are so excited.”

And she doesn’t plan to stop any time soon.

“If I could fit into the costume again next year, it would be fun to be Clara for a third time,” Elizabeth said.

Go see Elizabeth, and other Mountain Brook dancers, bring to life the holiday classic Dec. 9, 10 and 11 at various times at the BJCC.

For more information and tickets, contact Cindy Free at the studio, 979-9294 or cindy@birminghamballet.com.

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