Dancing the role of Clara in the Nutcracker Ballet is a goal for many young ballerinas. In the classic holiday story, Clara is the young girl who receives a Nutcracker as a gift and later falls asleep and dreams about a prince. Every December, Festival Ballet Theatre produces a full-length production of the classical ballet. This year, four young promising ballerinas will be playing Clara, in the Nutcracker running December 9 to 24 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.

Read about the four Festival Ballet Trainees who will be dancing as Clara.

Cassidy Doan:

“I’m in love with this role! I’m so grateful for Festival Ballet Theatre and Southland allowing me to dance Clara to my fullest potential. All the blood, sweat, tears, sacrifices, time, and effort are finally worth it for this great Christmas production. Being Clara now reminds me of when I was only an angel for my first Nutcracker about 8 years ago. Receiving the role of Clara is practically my birthday gift before I turn 15!”

Cassidy is a freshman at Fountain Valley High School and is a Southland Ballet Academy student and Festival Ballet Trainee. She placed in the Top 12 in the junior division of the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) – Los Angeles Regionals.

Lily Turner:

Fresh off her performance as Alice in “Alice in Wonderland,” Lily returns to the Irvine Barclay Theatre stage as Clara.

“I am very grateful and glad to have the opportunity to dance this role. I first danced the Nutcracker when I was 6 or 7 and I was an angel. I am now 14.”

Lily is a Southland Ballet Academy student and Festival Ballet Theatre trainee. She placed first in the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) Los Angeles Regionals.  She is a Royal Ballet School International Scholar. The Royal Ballet School’s International Scholars Programme identifies exceptional talent in young ballet students who live outside of the United Kingdom.

Ashley Lew:

Easily one of the most popular up and coming dancers from Southland Ballet Academy is Ashley Lew.  She is a Festival Ballet Trainee. In 2016, she won the Youth America Grand Prix, the premier prize at YAGP in Los Angeles. That year, she also received a gold medal in the YAGP New York.  In 2015, she won the YAGP Hope Award (Los Angeles). She spent a year in Monaco studying ballet at the prestigious Academie de Danse Princesse Grace. She is a brand ambassador and model for Discount Dance and Russian Pointe.

“How do you feel about dancing as Clara? It is a dream come true! I’m 14 now and I danced in my first Nutcracker when I was 8 years old. I was a mouse.”

Ashley Lew as Clara by Skye Schmidt at Uni Home Store

Ashley Lew ballerina by Skye Schmidt Nutcracker

Moorea Pike:

Moorea Pike will dance the role of Clara for the second time! She recently played “Alice” in “Alice in Wonderland” too. Among her many accomplishments, Moorea placed in the Top 12 Senior Division of the YAGP – New York Finals and was awarded scholarships to Princess Grace Academy in Monaco and the Houston Ballet.

“I’m super thankful to be Clara again for the second year in a row. I’m glad I get to improve in the role and the character development. I’m 16 years old. I first danced in the Nutcracker when I was 9 years old as a little mouse.”

Moorea Pike as Clara Photo by Skye Schmidt

Moorea Pike as Clara in Nutcracker at Irvine Barclay Photo by Skye Schmidt

For information and tickets about The Nutcracker, click here.

*All photos in the post by Skye Schmidt.