Three young women will bid adieu to their involvement with the Columbus Ballet’s version of “The Nutcracker” after this weekend.
Seniors this year, Ashley Fortenberry, Rachel Green and Rachel Horne, all 17, are considering which colleges to attend next year.
While sad to be leaving, all three are excited about starting the next phase of their lives.
Fortenberry, who is home-schooled and has been with the Columbus Ballet for 10 years, will be auditioning for Ballet Magnificat, a Christian ballet company, in Jackson, Miss.
Ballet, she said, has been a physical challenge, but has also taught her about dedication, discipline and respect.
Horne, who will graduate from Glenwood School in May, danced for years with another dance school before switching to ballet exclusively.
“I fell in love with it (ballet),” she said. “Now, I can’t stop.”
Green, who is also home-schooled, says it’s going to be bittersweet after the final performance Saturday. No matter what major she takes in college, she will continue to dance. Eventually, she’d like to teach and choreograph ballets.
Green will play the role of Spanish dancer in “The Nutcracker.” She laughed when she said she can dance every solo role in the production. The Spanish dance was the final solo left on her to-do list.
Maria Hirsch was named the director of the Columbus Ballet last year.
She has tried to increase the skill level of her students.
“These girls have been very brave in all the changes,” Hirsch said.
One thing she changed was the experience levels. Instead of the junior and senior companies, she just has the Columbus Ballet for the most experienced dancers and the trainees for the less experienced dancers.
Hirsch hired dancers Armando Maldonado and Jessie Parmalee to play the Cavalier and Sugar Plum Fairy.
Maldonado, who has performed with the Columbus Ballet, told Hirsch he is looking forward to coming back.
The Columbus Ballet will perform two shows, both matinees.
“I hope it will be a good experience for them,” Hirsch said. “I hope they will be proud of what they have learned.”