Ashley Laracey's First Sugarplum

When she was 5, Ashley Laracey danced as a party guest in Sarasota Ballet’s Nutcracker and was dazzled by the Sugarplum Fairy. “I knew that was what I wanted to do when I grew up,” the New York City Ballet soloist says. “It sealed the deal for me.” On December 22, Laracey will debut in the role in NYCB’s version. Pointe spoke with her recently about how she’s preparing for it.

What’s the part's biggest challenge?
Nothing that we do in the studio. It’s watching other dancers in the pas de deux and seeing where you can get tired or things can go wrong. It builds anxiety. I need to let that go, and hopefully I’ll just stay in the moment. I don’t want to be a deer in the headlights, for sure.

Who are your favorite Sugarplums now?
I saw first saw Jenifer Ringer do the role when I was at School of American Ballet. She’s so graceful and she makes it look easy—she’s pure femininity. She’s been very helpful as I’ve been rehearsing, urging me to focus on the children and remember it’s a magical world. I also love watching Sterling Hyltin—her abandonment is spectacular, and she has this sparkle.

What qualities do you want to project as Sugarplum?
A mix of warmth, command and elegance. I don’t want it to be all about the steps, or too showy. I want to be captivating, to tell a story, but most of all I want to be me, not try to be like someone else.