Everything Nutcracker

Your Favorite "Nutcracker" Web Series Has Just Been Turned Into a Full-Length Documentary

Isabelle Lapierre in a still from Finding Clara. Courtesy Justice Studios.

Last winter, we told you all about "Finding Clara," a YouTube series produced by tween clothing brand Justice. It followed four BalletMet Academy students cast in BalletMet's The Nutcracker. This year, it gets even better: The heart-melting show has been turned into a full-length documentary. Finding Clara was released today for rental and purchase on Amazon, Google Play and iTunes.

Finding Clara Trailer youtu.be


The documentary follows four dancers (Alaina Kelly, Molly Rainford-Dreibelbis, Lauren Grace Onderko and Isabelle Lapierre, who range in age from 10-13) over the course of three months, from auditions to rehearsals to opening night. We see the young bunheads' struggles and joys, namely how they work to find a balance between school, homework, ballet and family... and an incident involving a wooden nutcracker and a trip to the emergency room. The 90 minute documentary expands on the web series with never-before-seen footage, including interviews with artistic director Edwaard Liang and BalletMet company members. Justice and BalletMet, both headquartered in Columbus, OH, are natural collaborators, and this film is a product of Justice's new entertainment division, Justice Studios, which hopes to build on the company's mission as a"destination for all things tween girl." We're hoping that means even more ballet content is on its way (last year they put out a series of ballet tutorials on YouTube.)

The four Claras. Courtesy Justice Studios.

While Finding Clara is geared towards a younger audience, the four dancers' enthusiasm and energy is infectious, and reminds ballet lovers of all ages of the magic of Nutcracker and the thrill of your first big role. We're giving away five copies of this new DVD (including some extra gifts) to Pointe readers; enter here to win!

Ballet Careers
Roderick Phifer in Trey McIntyre's The Boogeyman . Bill Hebert, Courtesy BalletX.

This is one of a series of stories on recent graduates' on-campus experiences—and the connections they made that jump-started their dance careers. Roderick Phifer graduated from University of the Arts with a BFA in dance in 2017.

While walking out of a technique class during the first semester of his senior year at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, Roderick Phifer was approached with an unexpected offer. BalletX needed a guest artist for an upcoming performance, and after seeing Phifer perform in one of his senior shows, a UArts alumnus dancing with the company had offered up his name. Phifer ran straight from his technique class to a company class with BalletX, and the troupe's artistic leadership quickly gave him the green light to perform. "It was so last-minute, that, I kid you not, I had three rehearsals," he says. He performed with BalletX as a guest artist that fall, auditioned for an open company position in the spring and had a contract by the end of his senior year.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos

In this video ThePointeShop's Josephine Lee may not be giving her usual pointe shoe advice, but she is putting pointe shoes to good use... in the classic wedding shoe game. She plays with newly engaged Ballet West dancers Beckanne Sisk and Chase O'Connell to find out how well the couple knows each other.

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Apolla

Ballet dancers today are asked to do more with their bodies than ever before. The physical demands of a ballet career can take an immense toll on a dancer's joints and muscles—subjecting them to pain, inflammation and an increased risk of injury. Considering all that is required of today's dancers, having a top-notch recovery regime is paramount.

Enter Apolla Performance Wear, which is meeting ballet's physical demands with a line of compression footwear that is speeding up the recovery process for professional dancers by reducing inflammation and stabilizing the joints.

Keep reading... Show less