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Sophie Hill: Dancing her way to the top as “The Nutcracker’s” leading lady

Sophomore+Sophie+Hill%2C+playing+the+role+of+Clara%2C+goes+on+pointe+as+she+performs+for+one+of+the+scenes.+%E2%80%9CI+really+enjoyed+%5Bplaying+Clara%5D%2C%E2%80%9D+Hill+said.+%E2%80%9CI+loved+the+costumes%2C+the+dances+and+the+experience.+This+has+to+have+been+my+favorite+role+yet.%E2%80%9D
Credit: Melina Barris
Sophomore Sophie Hill, playing the role of Clara, goes on pointe as she performs for one of the scenes. “I really enjoyed [playing Clara],” Hill said. “I loved the costumes, the dances and the experience. This has to have been my favorite role yet.”

Sophomore Sophie Hill has fostered a passion for dancing since she was three years old, engaging in a diverse range of dance genres throughout her dance career. This year marked Hill’s significant achievement when her dance studio, Studio Dance Academy, hosted its annual “Nutcracker” performance. After Hill’s consistent hard work and dedication, she was given the chance to take on the lead role, Clara, and showcase her talent.

The Nutcracker was written by E.T.A. Hoffman and composed by Tchaikovsky in the 19th century. This elegant ballet narrates a tale about a girl who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve. “The Nutcracker” features different categories of dances, which adds a captivating narrative to the performance. Overall, “The Nutcracker” showcases the skills and artistry of each dancer.

“I’ve done dance my whole life and I am really close with all the girls I dance with,” Hill said. “As far as the role of Clara, it definitely [required] long practices and hours. I would practice three days a week for a couple hours each day.”

Hill encountered various challenges while training for the role of Clara. Beyond perfecting her technique, particularly the pointe technique, there were several areas Hill had to direct her attention to. Hill had to embody the character on an emotional level, and had to get in the mindset of Clara’s expressions and emotions.

“The most challenging part was acting it out,” Hill said. “It was hard to really apply myself to this role, especially smiling the whole time and maintaining good posture.”

Aside from the difficulties of understanding the role, “The Nutcracker” marked the last time that Hill would be performing with some of her teammates as their high school dance careers came to a close. Even after all of Hill’s hard work paid off in her portrayal of Clara, there was a bittersweet feeling when the show all came to an end. Performing made her realize that “The Nutcracker” symbolized the end to her teammates’ high school dancing careers and dancing with them.

“This year was really special because one of my close friends is a senior and is graduating,” Hill said. “I feel like as we are getting older and more into our careers, it was really important for me to carry out the show. Since I am close with these girls, I am really going to miss them.”

Although Hill mainly works to master the ballet technique, her dance studio also offers other dance styles. Even though Hill has focused her time on ballet, she is interested in other opportunities to try new things.

“I am on the [dance] competition teams,” Hill said. “We do all types of dance: jazz, acro, lyrical and contemporary. The [teams] compete in the springtime, because we start preparing for ‘The Nutcracker’ in early September.”

Hill dedicated several months of preparation to perfect the role of Clara, along with competing in several different dances later in the year. Hill reflects on her role as Clara as a memorable experience.

“I really enjoyed [playing Clara],” Hill said. “I loved the costumes, the dances and the experience. This has been my favorite role yet.”

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About the Contributor
Melina Barris, Staff Reporter
Melina Barris, Class of 2025, is a first year reporter for WSPN. She plays for the high school's field hockey team. Outside of school and sports, Melina enjoys seeing friends, traveling and drawing. Contact: [email protected]
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