To Dance, to Dream

Carrollton youth lands role in
Louisville's 'The Nutcracker'

By Jarrett Boyd
Contributing Writer

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."

Rosie Hersey

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.

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