By Indiana Nash
NISKAYUNA — Two Hillside Elementary students were recently selected to join the New York City Ballet for a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Saratoga this summer.
Sophia Spindler and Ella Nish have been dancing for a long time and are both brimming with excitement at the prospect of dancing on stage this summer.
Although they are classmates at Hillside and are on the same lacrosse team, neither Ella or Sophia knew that the other was going to be auditioning in Saratoga mid-March. “I was happy that she was there when I went to audition,” said Sophia.
They were able to audition together and got the news two weeks ago that they were cast as fireflies in the production, set for July 20-23.
For two weeks prior to the show, Ella and Sophia will be training and rehearsing at the performance center in Saratoga two times a day, six days a week. “It’s a really crazy rehearsal schedule,” said Sophia. But both dancers look forward to working with the principal dancers in the New York City ballet company and to spending their hours in between rehearsals in Saratoga.
Ella, now 11, has been dancing since she was 2 years old, and it’s something she plans to continue far into her future. Currently, she dances at the Meyer School in Schenectady, where she takes pointe classes and ballet classes three times a week.
Pointe can sometimes be a difficult transition for young dancers. “It is really painful and it was especially painful when I started. But I stuck with it because most of my other friends from dance were going ahead with it and I wanted to be a part of it,” said Ella.
It seems that it has paid off.
“When I was 6, I was cast in “The Nutcracker” and it really got me into it,” said Ella. During this production she met a few principal dancers and they also helped inspire her to pursue ballet.
Besides ballet and lacrosse, Ella also loves science and, she jokingly says, lunch. Ella has two brothers, Elliot and Gabriel, who keep her occupied and active.
Sophia, 10, has been dancing since she was 4 years old. “At first I signed up for a few different classes. I was taking modern and jazz and then I started ballet when I was 6,” said Sophia. She dances at the Orlando School of Dance in Schenectady.
“It was just something I signed up for at first,” said Sophia of how she became involved in ballet. But she quickly gained traction in the art and now loves it.
“I don’t take pointe classes yet, but I want to hopefully soon,” said Sophia. She notes, thought, that starting this summer there will be plenty enough for her feet to learn during the many hours of rehearsal for the show.
“The auditions were scary. I was nervous when I first got on stage,” said Sophia. But she was able to rise above her nerves and hopes to perform in the future. “I’d like to be a part of the New York City Ballet someday,” said Sophia of her hopes for a future in performing.
Every year, Sophia and Ella would go to see the summer production that the New York City Ballet comes to feature. This will be the first time that the two aren’t in the audience, but will be in the spotlight on stage.