Pay a visit to Abella’s School of Dance on any given night and you’ll find high school senior Lily Clingan-Darack working hard to perfect her turnout, at the barre strengthening her technique, and now, preparing for an iconic role as Clara in The Nutcracker. You can catch The Nutcracker, next weekend December 19th and 20th on stage at Flagler College’s Lewis Auditorium. Shows are a 2pm and 7:30pm both days. Recently, I sat down with Lily (well, I sat and she danced) to see what drives this petite ballerina to go big and what her plans are post graduation and beyond.
How long have you danced?
Since I was 10
When did you discover your love for performing?
The first time I danced onstage, I realized how much I loved performing roles and feeling completely free when I dance in front of an audience. I was dancing the role of Snow White and when I stepped onstage and felt the music and knew that I wanted to do this forever.
What’s your favorite style?
Classical ballet and pointe
What keeps you passionate about the sport?
Continually learning variations and improving my technique during class time and performances. I love to learn new choreography, it keeps me interested.
What’s up next?
Applying to dance programs in colleges! Right now, I’m in the process of completing applications and scheduling auditions at places like Boston Conservatory – which is my top choice at the moment.
How do you feel about playing the iconic role of Clara in the Nutcracker?
I feel so honored to be given the role of Clara! She is such a famous character for Christmastime and I think her braveness and joyous spirit is something to admire. I am incredibly grateful to be given the opportunity to dance as Clara.
What advice would you offer to aspiring dancers?
I would advise young dancers to always strive to improve your artistry and technique, because that is what will look best when you are performing onstage in front of an audience. Also, make sure that you love what you’re doing because if you don’t have passion for the art form, it won’t be enjoyable–and that’s what it’s all about.
When you’re not dancing…
I’m normally hanging out with friends or doing homework (senior year can be very tough!) I also have a love for fashion- I’m always trying to piece together outfits and styles that look different and trendy.
To pre-purchase tickets for The Nutcracker, go here.
Images by Rob Futrell