From Studio to Stage: Middle School Student Dances with Richmond Ballet

Visions of sugar plums are typical—and topical—this time of year. For one Middle School student, this dream became a reality the first weekend of December.

Valerie Spektor ’22 took to the stage at Chrysler Hall with Richmond Ballet, The State Ballet of Virginia, to perform in their production of The Nutcracker. Valerie was able to dance as two different characters in two separate scenes. For Act I, Scene II: An Unexpected Battle, the Norfolk Academy student-dancer performed as the role of Chinese Doll. In Act II, Scene II: Confitenberg, Kingdom of Sweets, she danced en pointe in the coveted role of a Sugar Plum Fairy Attendant (SPFA).

When she is not holding an arabesque or pirouetting around the stage with professional dance companies, Valerie can often be found training under the guidance of dance master Elbert Watson in Norfolk Academy’s dance studio. “Mr. Watson is my instructor here, and I train mainly here aside from occasional summer intensives or master classes that may pop up,” said Valerie.

In addition to performing, Valerie was cast in last year’s winter musical, competes on the school’s swimming & diving team, plays violin in the Royster Orchestra, and is a member of the Middle and Upper School dance team. Her hectic schedule is not deterring her from pursuing more dance opportunities.

“This was my first performance with (Richmond Ballet), and I only attended rehearsals affiliated with The Nutcracker,” said Valerie. “Hopefully it is not my last!”

Keep an eye out for future performances featuring this graceful Bulldog!