"It's your party, darling…" and other Clara tales

Three American Midwest Ballet company dancers share their memories of being Clara…

ABOVE: American Midwest Ballet co-workers and friends Erin, Kelsey and Claire have moved on to dance as Dew Drop Fairy, Chinese and French (among many other roles) in 'The Nutcracker', but all three once danced the treasured role of Clara in their youth.

Erin Alarcón New Jersey: I was lucky to appear as Clara in my very first production of The Nutcracker was when I was twelve years old  The company dancer who played Sugar Plum that year came up to me and said “It’s your party, darling. Enjoy it!” So now, every Nutcracker production I’m in, I make a special effort to seek out Clara and share that bit of wisdom with her, too. It is an experience I will always cherish.
Kelsey Schwenker Colorado: I performed in The Nutcracker from ages 10 through 17 — and then again in college. I started as a party girl, a jester and other roles. When I was 14, I performed the role of Clara – and later performed all the corps roles and some variations with the company members. It was such a thrill and a learning experience to dance with professionals at a young age.
Claire Goodwillie Nebraska: I have been in The Nutcracker almost every year since I was six. I loved playing Clara because it involved quite a bit of acting — and I got to stay onstage the whole time!

© American Midwest Ballet. All rights reserved.