Penn-Trafford sophomore dances 'Nutcracker' lead
Daniela Sofelkanik is getting her chance to shine this weekend as Clara, the young girl who encounters the Mouse King and his minions on Christmas Eve, in the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra's presentation of “The Nutcracker.”
Daniela, a sophomore at Penn-Trafford High School, will take center stage during the Sunday matinee show after earning the role through the Laurel Ballet Performing Company. She has played various backup and choral roles in the annual holiday show since she was 10.
“It means a lot. I've been waiting to be Clara for quite a while,” Daniela said.
Daniela is one of three girls who will play Clara during the weekend shows at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg. Madison Durbin of Hempfield Area High School and Alexis Nale of Greater Latrobe Senior High School will appear in the two Saturday shows as the young girl who dreams of a Nutcracker prince.
Eleanor Tornblom, artistic director for Laurel Ballet, said the role is challenging because the teen dancers work with professionals. Clara, in particular, is lifted and thrown during some sequences.
“It's not for the meek and mild,” Tornblom said. “It takes a special kind of person to be able to demand this of themselves.”
The company, which has its roots in a dance studio Tornblom founded in 1957, has combined with the orchestra for “The Nutcracker” since 1993. Tornblom said the girls who play Clara likely have the energy to do all three shows, but she likes to give several dancers a shot at the role.
“(From) whenever Clara starts the production, she's 10 times the dancer when she's finished, so we don't want to limit that experience to one person,” she said.
One of the biggest tests for Daniela has been juggling homework with rehearsals, which generally ran five days a week for about four hours at a time throughout November.
“By the time I get home, it's 10 o'clock, and then I have to start school work,” she said.
The part has required Daniela to prepare herself physically and mentally for the long days, her mother, Tu, said.
“I think it's a fantastic opportunity for her,” Tu Sofelkanik said. “She does well and she loves performing.”
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Harrison City church hosts ‘after party’ on football nights
- Frederick, Orchard drives in Manor to be paved