Two M-A students share Sugar Plum Fairy role in Pacific Ballet Nutcracker performance

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on November 15, 2018

Menlo-Atherton High School senior Tara Ellingson (pictured right) and junior Toni Shindler-Ruberg are sharing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in Pacific Ballet Academy‘s 28th annual Nutcracker performance at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Emailed parent volunteer Diane Lee: “Tara will be dancing the role of Sugar Plum Fairy Saturday [Nov. 24] at 6:00 pm with Toni dancing Friday [Nov. 23] at 6:00 pm. It is an amazing achievement to be given this role, which is often reserved for professionals. Marion and Rima Chaef, Pacific Ballet’s directors, believe strong student dancers can really grow when given the opportunity to perform such an important role.”

Recently we stopped at the Academy to talk with the two dancers.

Toni told us she’s been dancing since she was six. “This is my second home,” she said. “Right now I’m working to improve my technique in the hopes of getting some second company opportunities.”

About appearing as the Sugar Plum Fairy, she said: “It’s very special and shows the directors and teachers have faith in us. It’s a little scary but very exciting!”

Tara reported that her mom “put me in ballet because she thought I was clumsy!”

She first saw the Nutcracker when she was about five years old and knew immediately that she’d like to appear in it one day. “All of my hard work is paying off!”

Next year she’s off to college. “While I’m not planning on being a professional dancer, I want to continue to dance,” she said. “It’s always been an important part of my life.”

In addition to the full Nutcracker, there is children’s version on Friday, Nov. 23 at 12:00 pm (Act 1 only) and 2:00 pm (Act II); tickets are available here. Tickets for the full length performance are available here.

Photo by Linda Hubbard (c) 2018

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