Dancing can mean many things to many people. Dancing could
mean rocking out at a party. It could mean burning calories at an exercise
class. It could be something you do when you’re super excited and happy.
For two students at the Yorkville Performing Art Center (YPAC), dancing is everything.
Alyssa Bulin, 13, of Plainfield and Scarlett Nash, 10, of Channahon, have been dancing since they were two and three years old – or “a long time,” as Scarlett put it.
The two girls only recently started dancing at YPAC, which opened in late August, but already the experience has opened up a door they hadn’t thought possible: the opportunity to dance with the widely acclaimed Joffrey Ballet.
Alyssa and Scarlett were all smiles when we sat down to talk, despite having had a very busy day of school and dance class immediately following.
“We’re still straight A students even with all of this,” said Alyssa.
“And math geeks,” said Scarlett proudly. “We love math!” She said she’d love to do something with math at some point in her career.
The girls practice every day at dance class except for Thursdays and Fridays at YPAC. They practice daily on their own and Sundays are reserved for driving to Chicago to practice with the Joffrey Ballet.
Scarlett will be playing a soldier and Alyssa a mounted mice, both appearing during the battle scene with the Mouse King.
“It’s a lot of marching,” said Scarlett of her role. “The costume is heavy and we jump and stuff.” During the show the soldiers will have fake guns, but the dancers have been practicing with yardsticks to get used to the feel of holding onto the weapon.
Alyssa said the Mounted mice “paddle” and that their roles both involve a lot of “counting.”
“I’m very nervous about that,” said Alyssa.
“We practice our routine every day,” said Scarlett.
The two girls said they have become very close through the experience and said they feel like sisters.
“Everyone [at YPAC] is like our second family,” said Alyssa. “I always feel safe and can tell anybody anything.”
Scarlett says the motto at the dance studio is the “YPAC experience” and said she wants to be a part of that.
“I want to give what I’ve learned to other kids,” she said. “YPAC has really changed our lives.” Both girls said they would love to be dance instructors at YPAC and Alyssa said she hopes one day to be on television.
The two were chosen from over 150 other dancers in their age group to perform. Scarlett tried out last year and made alternate, but this will be the first time either girl has ever performed on a large stage.
The girls will perform 13 shows of The Nutcracker with the Joffrey Ballet, which runs from Dec. 6 to Dec. 28. Tickets for the show can be purchased here.