Dress rehearsals for 9-year-old Sarah Parton begin next week,
but this isn't some tiny tot's school play. The Irving School
fourth-grader will join three other youth from Oak Park and
surrounding western suburbs performing in Joffrey Ballet's
The Nutcracker this month in Chicago.
The ballet company casts youth from the Chicago area to perform
in the musical every year. Parton will be joined by fellow Oak
Parkers Ella Niermann, 10, and Christine Compasio, 20.
Sarah's mom, Kristy, said the entire family is excited. A friend
of Sarah's performed in the show last year, but this is her first
time in the production. More than 100 youth annually perform in
certain sections of the show. Auditions this year took place in
August. Sarah, who's been dancing since she was 3, was chosen on
the spot, along with the other performers.
Most of the family lives outside Oak Park, but Parton said 5-10
people, including friends, plan on attending the performance. The
Nutcracker runs Dec. 10-26 at Roosevelt University's Auditorium
Theater in downtown Chicago. Sarah will perform in nine shows.
"We're all very excited that she could get a part in such a
prestigious play," said Parton, noting that her daughter enjoys tap
dancing most, also jazz and hip-hop. She performed a couple of
summers ago in Julian's CAST performance camp for elementary school
kids, and she has performed in a children's version of Macbeth at
Dominican University and with the Actor's Garden Theater. In The
Nutcracker, she'll play one of the lifelike dolls. She's been in
two rehearsals a week up to this point. Parton said her daughter
hasn't shown any nervousness about performing in such a large
"She's just going with the flow."
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