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.
The documentaryfollows 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 allages 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!
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.