For a young ballet dancer, it doesn’t get much better than opening your Nutcracker casting letter to find out that you’ve received the role of Clara. This year, San José Dance Theatre presented this news to three dancers, Amanda Baumann, Mia Watson Fong and Chloe Moulton. After a collective 30 years of study between the three dancers, and having performed in countless Nutcrackers, receiving the coveted role of “Clara” is their first opportunity as dancers to carry the narrative of a ballet. Yet all three dancers have their own unique style and path that has led them to this role. All three dancers share their story of dedication and success in their spotlight profiles.
Introducing Amanda Baumann, a freshman at Los Gatos High School.
9th Grade, Los Gatos High School
Yes, I have always dreamed of having the role of Clara. Ever since I started dancing in the Nutcracker, I watched the older girls dance the aspiring role. One aspect that is demanding of this role is staying mentally focused during all of the long rehearsal days.
HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU TOOK YOUR FIRST BALLET CLASS? DID YOU IMMEDIATELY FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT IT?
I took my first ballet class when I was doing dance competitions around three years old. I wasn’t very serious about ballet yet, and at that time, it wasn’t what I was focusing on. I was so young, and all I wanted to do was dance, so I was passionate about all styles of dance, including, but not limited to, ballet.
AT WHAT AGE DID YOU REALIZE BALLET WAS WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE? WAS IT A SLOW PROGRESSION OR CAN YOU RECALL A PARTICULAR MOMENT?
I only knew that ballet was what I wanted to do with my life just this past summer. I went to the LINES ballet summer intensive, and seeing and learning all of the different ways you could express yourself through movement really intrigued me, and I knew that I wanted to explore this amazing way of communication for the rest of my life.
WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT BALLERINAS?
One of the biggest misconceptions about ballerinas, and ballet in general, is that it is easy and anyone can do it. I feel that most people do not understand how much time and hard work we put into it, because it’s our lives. We eat, sleep, and breathe ballet. Every moment of our lives is dedicated to ballet, but sadly, many people almost think of it as a joke.
WALK US THROUGH A TYPICAL DAY IN THE LIFE OF AMANDA BAUMANN
A typical day for me starts with waking up at 6:45, and getting ready to go to school. I go to school for only one period per day, from 8:15 to 9:45, then I leave to go to ballet from 10:15 to 3:15, then from 4:30 to 6. Once ballet is done, I go home and do my homework. Then I eat dinner, get ready for bed, go to sleep, and do it all over again the next day.
IN WHAT WAYS IS YOUR CHILDHOOD DIFFERENT FROM YOUR NON-BALLET FRIENDS?
My life is different from my non-ballet friends because I’m in a professional ballet program and I’m partially homeschooled. Besides that, all of my friends are pretty active too, so we’re all busy, just for different reasons.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK?
My favorite book is Starters by Lissa Price.
YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE?
My favorite movie is Elf.
YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN SCOTTS VALLEY?
My favorite place to eat at in Los Gatos is Nick’s Next Door.