CUYAHOGA FALLS – A young girl's shyness disappears when she dances, and her wish will come true when she performs with the Moscow Ballet.
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Elaina Evans, 11, wants to be a dancer but could become a nurse like her mother if she needs a back-up plan. For now her feet talk for her.
“I don't like going up in front of a class and speaking,” Elaina said.
But her shoulders go back, her toes are pointed and her head is high when she is dancing.
“She loves being on stage,” said her mother, Jennifer Dippel. “She opens up and forgets her shyness. She doesn't walk. She dances.”
At the age of 3, Elaina began to watch dancers and practice their moves, Dippel said. She has a ballet barre in her room, a previous Christmas present. Her list of gifts every year includes leotards, tights and new dance shoes.
“She lives, breathes and dreams dance,” Dippel said. “We went to the Nutcracker every year, and she wanted to dance with a professional.”
This year her dream came true.
Elaina auditioned in October for a part in the Moscow Ballet’s “Great Russian Nutcracker” which performs Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Music Hall in the Public Auditorium on East 6th St. in Cleveland.
She will dance the part of the Russian variation. Elaina and three other young dancers will be on stage while two professional Russian dancers perform.
“The opportunity to dance along side of a professional ballet company has been a dream of hers for years,” Dippel said. “Having the opportunity to dance the Nutcracker with the Moscow Ballet is a Christmas dream come true for her.”
The Moscow Ballet casts student dancers ages 6-18 in ancillary roles performing side by side with the full Russian Company every year, and this year the Moscow Ballet will perform its 25th Anniversary Tour of the “Great Russian Nutcracker” with lavish costumes and sets with 40 ballerinas and danseurs telling the story of Clara and the Nutcracker to Tchaikovsky's complete score.
Elaina rehearses for the Moscow Ballet at En Pointe Danse in Chagrin Falls, which is the home studio for the “Great Russian Nutcracker.”
For the past four years Elaina has also studied ballet with Mia Klinger at Nan Klinger Excellence in Dance on State Road in Cuyahoga Falls. She also is a student at Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Akron.
Mia Klinger took over her mother's studio in 2002, a year before Nan Klinger died. The studio opened in 1975 and is one of the oldest in the country for youth ballet instruction.
Mia said her students perform creative new ballets and will perform the Magic Flute in March of 2018.
“Our focus is on cutting-edge ballets that have never been done before,” Mia said. “We perform to captivate a child audience.”
Elaina credits Mia for preparing her for the Nutcracker audition. She stressed behaving professionally and showing confidence and poise.
“Elaina is a serious student and has great feet,” Mia said. “She is very strong and strives for perfection.”
The opportunity to perform is the Moscow Ballet is a great opportunity, she added.
“The students learn a lot from watching the professionals and other kids,” Mia said. “You have to have the focus of an Olympic champion to be a dancer.”