By Mark Ambrogi
Morgan Rust figures she has come a long way in her eight years at Indiana Ballet Conservatory.
“Originally, I was a little mouse and now I’ve grown up and I’m doing the Sugar Plum with Lasha Khozashvili, a Boston Ballet principal (dancer),” Morgan said.
Morgan and twin sister Julia, 15, homeschooled sophomores from Noblesville, share the role of the Sugar Plum with Ricako Suzuki in the IBC’s production of “The Nutcracker” Dec. 8 through 11 at the Toby Theatre at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
This is Julia’s second year as the Sugar Plum.
“It was so special and incredible to work with (Khozashvili),” Julia said. “He’s an incredible dancer and he’s super nice as a person and just a dream to work with.”
IBC founding Artistic Director Alyona Yakovleva-Randall said Khozashvili was impressed with Julia last year.
Julia and Morgan encourage each other to improve.
“When we dance together, it’s not a competition. We just inspire each other to do better,” Julia said.
Quinn Starner, 14, is from Temperance, Mich., but has come to the IBC to train and stays in an apartment with her mother. She will perform in the “Chinese Waltz” soloist and snow soloist.
Starner, a homeschooled freshman, competed in “So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation.” She attended the academy in Los Angeles.
This is the 10th anniversary of this version of “The Nutcracker.”
“I staged this the first time in Indianapolis 10 years ago,” Yakovleva-Randall said. “Each year it gets better. It’s going to be an amazing production with a great cast.”
The performances are at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11.
For more, visit indianaballetconservatory.org.