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Draper Journal

‘Nutcracker’ Role Brings Draper Girl Closer To Dream

Dec 12, 2014 11:15AM ● By Julie Slama

Summit Academy eighth-grader Annabella Oliver poses in one of her Clara costumes by the sleigh used in the Utah Artists School of Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.”

The first time Annabella Oliver performed in “The Nutcracker,” she watched Clara, the Snow Queen, the Sugar Plum Queen and other older girls dance and knew she wanted to perform one of those solos.

Now, five Nutcrackers later, Annabella, 13, a Draper resident, performed the role of Clara Dec. 5 with the Utah Artists School of Ballet. However, she hasn’t reached her pinnacle.

“I want to be a professional and would like to be in the Royal London Ballet,” she said. “With Clara, I learned all these new experiences, such as dancing with a partner in a complex dance. I had to learn how to balance longer en pointe and how to be lifted while dancing. I spent a lot of time perfecting the solo and increasing my flexibility, and all this helps me lead to more difficult dances and improving my ability.”

Annabella, who is an eighth-grader at Summit Academy, was named Clara back in September, which she said was “kind of a surprise.”
 “At my ballet school, everyone knows Clara is about a certain age and ability, and I was in that range, but still, it was exciting to learn when I got the part. I love ballet; it takes a lot of skill and it’s a beautiful art, so it’s both a sport and art at the same time, and that makes ballet very, very special,” she said.

Annabella knows jazz, tap, lyrical and contemporary dance, but ballet is her favorite. In addition to “The Nutcracker,” Annabella has performed in “Sleeping Beauty,” “Coppélia,” “Alice and Wonderland,” “Paquita” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

Despite getting blisters, calluses and sore feet while dancing, Annabella remains upbeat.

“I fell in love with ballet when I started, and my parents can’t drag me away. When I’m on stage, I feel super happy. I don’t need to concentrate on what I’m doing since I’ve learned it and know it, so I’m just letting go and having fun. The best thing about ‘The Nutcracker’ is that it is a traditional ballet that is fun and upbeat and it gets us in the Christmas spirit,” she said.