Local dance company makes more dreams come true this year for little ballerinas

Every little girl has the chance to be a leading lady

It’s important to find the positives during the pandemic, especially during the holidays. Even though live holiday performances aren’t happening this year, one local dance company is more than proving, the show must go on.

Little Leapers Performance Dance company owner and director Heather Leeper knows that dancing across the stage as the character Clara in the beloved holiday ballet, the Nutcracker, is a role all young dancers vie for.

“It’s really every ballerina’s dream to be on stage and to be the star and to hold that nutcracker on stage before the curtains close,” Leeper said. With theaters shut down this year, dancing in front of a crowded auditorium is out of the question. But, that didn’t make Leeper give up.

“No is an answer, but it’s not a solution,” Leeper said. That’s why her dance company has embraced the change, and used it as an opportunity to give every little girl her Christmas dream of becoming the leading lady. “We thought in a year where we got nothing we wanted and the kids didn’t get anything that they wanted, we would give them the one thing we know they wanted,” Leeper said. Using a green screen, they’ve created what they call “the Clara experience.”

Any dancer who learns the dance from a provided video can perform and be recorded starring in the show. The mice, nutcracker and other dancers will be added in later. A copy of which will arrive just in time for Christmas.

“When the state said that we couldn’t perform, I really wanted to turn that into a magical experience they would never forget,” Leeper said.

And yes, while it looks different than in the past, it may just be a blessing in disguise.

“Honestly it’s been more magical seeing them in that role in front of the cameras,” Leeper said. “And they are just lighting up!”

It’s an opportunity to shine, many wouldn’t have gotten in any other year.

“You can tell they truly believe that they are Clara. This is their moment. They are coming with their hair curled and their makeup on just as any Clara who would do it on stage would,” Leeper said.

There is still time to have the Clara experience. It’s open to all ages. They have two more weekends they will be filming. Contact Little Leapers to sign up.

The cost of the Clara experience is $300, which is $150 out of pocket when you use Blacksburg bucks.

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