Three elementary-age dancers are performing at the collegiate level after landing roles in the upcoming presentation of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” at Butler University.
Alyssa Corlew, Mary Elise Fuhrer and Anastasia Hobbs are ballerinas at En Pointe Indiana Studio in Noblesville. They auditioned for their parts in September and have been practicing ever since.
Dancing regularly five nights a week at En Pointe, they also had been rehearsing an additional two days — Thursday evenings and all day Saturdays – to prepare for “The Nutcracker.” They are now practicing every day as the show approaches.
Butler’s production is the longest running, fully staged show in the state. The performances are at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, 8 p.m. Dec. 6, 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 7 and noon and 5 p.m. Dec. 8.
Corlew and Fuhrer are new to the show. Hobbs has performed in it the past two years.
“Of the three that auditioned from En Pointe, all three got in, which says a lot about this studio,” said Connie Hobbs, Anastasia’s mother.
“There were 85 kids that auditioned for this year’s ‘Nutcracker,’” said Stacey Corlew, Alyssa’s mother. “They went in and auditioned as groups of 20, and it was selected right then if they were wanted for a second round, and then we found out in a few days.”
“Anyone can audition, and we encourage it,” said Robert Moore, co-artistic director and co-owner of En Pointe. “We want our dancers to experience as much as they can and have a lot of opportunities. It really worked out that they could afford to do both.”
Each of the girls will play one of Mother Ginger’s Polichinelles during the show.
“It’s in the second act. They’re like little Russian dolls,” Moore said.
That part of the show involves the three girls and others near their age and physical size to emerge from a very large prop skirt worn by Mother Ginger.
“The cut-off is age 14 and 5-foot-tall,” Connie Hobbs said. “With Mother Ginger, they can’t be too tall because they can’t get under the skirt, and they can’t do too small, because they don’t have the technique, or the costumes won’t fit.”
Corlew, 11, is a Noblesville resident and fifth-grader at Hazel Dell Elementary. Fuhrer, 10, is a Noblesville resident and fourth-grader at Our Lady of Grace Catholic School. Hobbs, 11, is from Fishers and is homeschooled.
Hobbs and Corlew said they have each been dancing since age 3. Fuhrer started at age 5.
For their age, the girls’ mothers said participating in the Butler production has been a great opportunity.
“The older girls are right next to them rehearsing, and that’s very cool to see,” said Amanda Fuhrer, Mary Elise’s mother.
“It’s been fun being with the college students and professors and being part of that level of a production,” Stacey said. “Butler is really good about making the kids feel special and important.”
Tickets range from $22.50 to $58. The show will be performed at Clowes Memorial Hall, 4602 Sunset Ave., Indianapolis. For more or for tickets, visit butlerartscenter.org/event/tchaikovskys-nutcracker.