Aspiring ballerinas learn foundations of dance in fairy tale come to life

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Young dancers got a taste of what it takes to be a ballerina Saturday afternoon at Ballet Midwest’s “My First Ballet: Fairy Tales in the Toyshop.”

The yearly performance is aimed at aspiring ballerinas ages three to nine.

"We find that maybe this age can't sit through an entire ballet yet, but it really creates the love for it that makes them want to come back and experience more of live theater, live dance, a full-length ballet maybe when they get a little bit older," Lacee Sandgren, artistic director for Ballet Midwest, said.

My First Ballet is a short, narrated show with tips and tricks on what it takes to make it to the big stage.

"They learn some of the very basic first-level ballet steps that they can remember and hang on to, and hopefully get some more training in,” Sandgren said.

After the show, young ballerinas enjoyed a party with cookies, face paint, and autographs from Ballet Midwest dancers — including Kate Stimpfle, 11, who has been dancing since she was just five years old.

"I feel like it's very important that I get to give back, and I'm so happy that I made it," Stimpfle said.

For dancers at Ballet Midwest, Fairy Tales in the Toy Shop isn't the only big performance of the weekend.

Next up, the company will perform its spring ballet, Coppélia.

"Coppélia is one of our most entertaining ballets,” Sandgren said. “It's very theatrical, a story line that not many people know, but I can guarantee they will love it."

Ballet Midwest had the first showing of Coppélia Saturday at 7 p.m.

They will be performing it again Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Topeka Performing Arts Center box office.