youth lands role in
Louisville's 'The Nutcracker'
CARROLLTON, Ky. Rosie Hersey is just 10 years
old, but she has been dancing for more than half of her life. The
daughter of Michael and Patricia Hersey, Rosie began taking ballet,
tap and jazz dance when she was just 4.
See, my sister started taking dance the year before me, and the
whole year I was 3 I was just hoping I could start," she said.
"My mom told me I had to wait until I was 4. Nora would show
me what she was doing, and I would try, unsuccessfully, to do it.
But I was only 3 and not very good."
Seven years later, after six years of lessons from
Katrina's School of Dance in Carrollton, and one year of instruction
from Gillman's School of Dance in Crestwood, Ky., Rosie is good
enough to be selected to dance with the Moscow Ballet in its upcoming
Louisville production of "The Nutcracker."
Denise Gillman, one of her current instructors, says of Rosie, "From
the beginning, I could see that she had very good technique. At
her age, they usually decide to go for it or not, and I could see
that Rosie has the drive to excel.
I had mentioned the auditions for ėThe Nutcracker,' and I am delighted
that she made it. She has the personality of someone who is willing
to work hard, attend long rehearsals months ahead of the performance.
She is just a beautiful girl, very bright."
Rosie auditioned first with the Louisville Ballet. "About 200
people were there auditioning, and I didn't get it," she recalled.
Then I kept looking for other opportunities, and Mom saw the ad
for the Moscow Ballet auditions. I went to the Jeffersonville Mall,
and I guess there were about 190 people there. I felt pretty nervous
that I wouldn't get selected, and I really didn't care what part
I would get."
Three groups with 12 girls in each group were shown moves by Natalia,
one of the Russian dancers, and then we would repeat each move."
Rosie thought Natalia looked as she imagined a ballerina would:
"Very skinny, tall with long,black hair, pale skin and lots
of black makeup on her eyes."
Rosie is herself quite petite and also looks like what a ballerina
might. But she doesn't worry about her weight. "Being skinny
is kind of like one of those stereotypes," she said, "but
sometimes it's who fits the costumes!"
After four hours of auditioning, Rosie found herself as one of the
final 12 to be chosen to be "party girls and party boys."
(Girls will actually dance the part of boys for this scene.)
We practiced every day for a week, for about two hours ėtil we learned
the style of dancing that the Russians do," she said. "My
part comes at the very beginning of the ballet."
The party girls come in skipping to the music in our fancy dresses.
Some girls are dressed as boys. They play their parts and eventually
dance. "The Russians lift us and spin us around," she
said. "I have been practicing doing my spins with my dad at
home. Then my part is over."
A fifth-grader at Cartmell Elementary in Carrollton, Rosie was homeschooled
in Ghent, Ky., with her three brothers and sister, Nora, who was
five inches too tall to audition for "The Nutcracker."
She started going to public school in the fourth grade.
Rosie's enthusiasm about school is obvious. She is involved almost
every day after school with chorus, academic team and the math club.
Drama and visual arts clubs take place during school. She also likes
to write fiction and personal narratives.
With many varied interests, Rosie finds she has to be selective
about how she spends her time. A Girl Scout, a quilter who exhibited
and won an award at this year's Kentucky State Fair, a soloist at
the Ghent Baptist church and a straight-A student, in addition to
her dance, this is one busy little girl!
Patricia Hersey says she is excited about her daughter's opportunity
to dance with the acclaimed troupe. "This is a wonderful experience
for Rosie. It gives her an opportunity to have a first-hand look
at the world of professional dancers, to see if she wants that to
be a part of her goal for the future."
Rosie is looking forward to the performances. "I hope my party
dress will be pink. We have to wear pink tights and pink ballet
shoes. My hair has to be curled."
Performances will be Nov. 9 at Indiana University in Bloomington,
Ind., and Nov. 11 at the Louisville Palace, 629 S. Fourth St. There
will be a matinee and evening performance (2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.)
in Louisville. Tickets are available through TicketMaster, which
has an outlet at the Kroger store in La Grange. For more information
about the show, call the theater box office at (502) 583-4335.