GENEVA – Abbigail Winklepleck, 10, has danced across many stages in the eight years she has performed ballet, but she’s looking forward to gracing a famous Chicago stage as a Russian doll in “The Nutcracker.”
Abbigail’s first performance at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University was Saturday with the Joffrey Ballet. Her family recently moved to Geneva, but that didn’t stop her from auditioning in September. Since she was cast, she has spent Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays practicing in Chicago.
“I’ve really enjoyed it,” she said of the experience. “It’s a really amazing experience to be able to have.”
Abbigail, a fifth-grader at Mill Creek Elementary School, said she hopes to pursue ballet as a career. She said the best part about her experience with the Chicago production so far has been dancing, of course, and meeting new people.
Abbigail will perform in 11 of the 22 productions of “The Nutcracker,” which runs through Dec. 27.
But the Chicago show isn’t her first experience performing in “The Nutcracker.” Her family is originally from California and has spent the past five years moving across the United States. Abbigail said she played Mother Ginger and a soldier in a production when her family lived in Florida, and was part of the party scene when her family lived in Tennessee.
Even with that experience, the thought of performing an iconic production in Chicago is nerve-racking.
“Yeah, I’m a little bit nervous. But I’m ready,” she said.
She described her costume as a white, long-sleeve dress with white ribbons hanging on the skirt. She also wears a crown of flowers.
She said close to 60 people are cast in the show, and she had heard about 300 people auditioned.
“It’s really exciting to see my daughter on stage with the professionals,” said Tammy Winklepleck, Abbigail’s mother. “She works really hard, and it’s paying off.”