BEAVERCREEK — After dancing for 12 years Beavercreek resident Rachel Ballentine feels its just part of her now.
Ballentine is 15-years-old and is part of the The Miami Valley Dance Company (MVDC). MVDC is comprised of 29 girls from ages 10 to 18.
“It’s just something I have been doing for so long it’s just part of me now,” said Ballentine.
She spends four days a week in the studio, which is about a total of 14 hours.
Ballentine is able to dedicate so much time to dancing because she is homeschooled. Leading up to the December performance of the Nutcracker is stressful because of the holidays and final weeks at school. But for a homeschooled student like Ballentine, she is able to schedule tests around her dancing schedule.
To be a part of MVDC, Ballentine is required to take a certain number of classes at Terre’s Dance Workshop. Classes include ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, etc. In addition to weekly classes, Ballentine has company rehearsals to prepare for the Nutcracker.
Dance season starts in September/October, but runs throughout the year, according to Ballentine. The dancers prepare for the Nutcracker over the next month. In December the dancers participate in outreach programs to perform scenes of the Nutcracker for people who would not usually be able to see the show.
After Christmas/New Year’s break, the dancers begin preparing for the spring show in March. Outreach programs continue after the spring show and the season ends with a recital in May. The dancers are required to take a summer class. In early August intensive camp and choreography camp begins.
“There really isn’t any time for anything else,” said Ballentine.
This year, MVDC has two different casts for the Nutcracker because of the number of girls in the company. Ballentine will perform various roles like Demi Soloist, Rat Queen, Chinese, Spanish, and Flowers.
MCDC will present the Nutcracker ballet 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at Bellbrook High School. The best time to watch Ballentine is 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8.
Ballentine’s favorite role this year is the Rat Queen. As the Rat Queen, she will be dancing with the Nutcracker. The Nutcracker is a male dancer hired by MVDC. This year there are five professional male dancers in the Nutcracker.
Ballentine is looking forward to this year’s Nutcracker performance because she was unable to perform in last year’s ballet due to a bad sprain. During last year’s ballet, she helped back stage with quick changes. Sometimes the girls only have 45 seconds to change costumes.
“Panicking is not going to help you in any way,” said Ballentine. “You just have to think okay this is what I need to do and this what I need and it’s here so I just have to do it now.”
Ballentine’s knowledge of the ballet helped the changes run smoothly.
“I like the performing and I also just love the friendships I have made in dance,” said Ballentine.
MVDC’s performance of the Nutcracker is the only Nutcracker performance in the south-Dayton suburbs.
Tickets are $15 for children and adults. The tickets can be purchased from Terre’s Dance Workshop at 937-435-0503. Tickets will be sold at the door until the ballet is sold out. Ticket sales benefit the girls at MVDC through the purchases of new costumes and additional training for the next season.