Leaping Into The Holidays: Freshman performs for her 6th time in the Nutcracker


Kate Pedrotti

Performing in the school’s rendition of “Oklahoma!”, freshman Isabella Dessert dances during the dream sequence.

Sally Panis, Features Editor

Classical notes of Tchaikovsky ascend throughout the auditorium from the shadowed instruments, as freshman Isabella Dessert tells the story of the Christmas classic, “The Nutcracker.”
Eight years ago, Dessert began her ballet aspirations at the Lawrence Arts Center but has continued training at the Kansas City Ballet since 2018.
Dessert plans to pursue a future in dancing with the possibility of joining a company or majoring in dance at a college.
According to Dessert, dance is the only place where her mind is totally blank and she can feel like herself.
“My mind is always clear when I’m [at the ballet studio],” Dessert said. “I never have to worry about anything, and I just remain peaceful and not distracted.”
“The Nutcracker” ballet was inspired by “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” which was published by the German author E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1815. Tchaikovsky’s score “The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71,” consists of roles like Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, Dr. Drosselmeier, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Mouse King and the Tea Children.
Starring as a tea child, Dessert particularly enjoys the sequence of Clara’s travels with the prince to a place called the Land of the Sweets where they encounter many new friends from around the world including chocolate from Spain, coffee from Arabia, tea from China and candy canes from Russia, which all dance for her amusement.
“I love when they go through the different countries because they have all these parasols and headpieces,” Dessert said. “They start with the Spanish and then the Arabian and then there is this dragon that comes out and it’s just beautiful.”
Being a part of the Nutcracker since 2016, the Christmas season has become one of Dessert’s favorite times of the year.
Dessert’s first role was a polichinelle, the little children in “The Nutcracker” ballet who emerge from Mother Ginger’s enormous hoop skirt to do a short dance. At the Lawrence Arts Center the following year, she was a party child in the first act. Once Dessert moved to Kansas City and joined the Kansas City Ballet, she performed as a soldier in 2018 and has returned to a variety of roles since.
“As I grew up I had more performance opportunities, so Nutcracker became more of a fun experience and I didn’t stress about it as much.” Dessert said. “Switching from LAC to KCB was somewhat difficult because the environment was completely different. KCB had a professional company and the students were much more disciplined.”
According to Dessert, nerves can be difficult to handle under stress, but her role this year allows her to adjust on stage since the party scene is about 30 minutes long with shorter dances.
Dessert was offered a scholarship by the Kansas City Ballet for two years for their day program classes but chose to attend Miege. She said she still could go at any time before her senior year.
Balancing her role as a student and performer has not been a challenge for Dessert. Performing two to four times each week, typically on the weekends doesn’t keep Dessert from finishing her schoolwork during Nutcracker season.
“This is my first year with finals, and so far I’ve been managing my schedule pretty well.” Dessert said. “During [tech week] we go to the Kauffman and rehearse right after school until 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. at night for the whole week. I’ll still have time to do homework but I’ll probably be pretty worn out. I have been doing it for so long that it has become a part of me.”