For the next several weeks, Coralie DeSchepper will be performing as a Christmas Toy Solider in the Joffrey Ballet’s “Nutcracker” being staged at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago.
Coralie, daughter of Kelly and Demian DeSchepper of Flossmoor, auditioned for a part in the annual Christmas production in September and was in rehearsals through October and November.
Coralie takes dance instruction at Intrigue Dance in Chicago. That’s where she saw another dance student rehearsing for a role in the 2021 production of the “Nutcracker.” That inspired her.
“I thought it was really cool and I wanted to do it myself,” she said.
Being before an audience isn’t new for Coralie. The 10-year-old has been dancing since she was 3 and has been part of dance competitions and recitals over the years. But performing at the Lyric is a special treat, she said.
“I really like it because I’ve always liked big shows and it’s just cool to really be a part of this big show.”
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet first performed in 1892 in Russia. It is one of three ballets with music composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It is a fantasy centering around Clara, a girl who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve and wages a battle against the evil Mouse King.
For the Joffrey Ballet production, the stage is moved from a grand party at a European home to Chicago at the time of the World’s Fair in 1893. The ballet opens with the girl, Marie, and her mother, a sculptress creating the Fair’s iconic Statue of the Republic, hosting a festive Christmas Eve celebration. After a surprise visit from the mysterious Great Impresario, creator of the fair, Marie embarks on a whirlwind adventure with the Nutcracker Prince through a dreamlike World’s Fair.
In all, Coralie will be on stage for 13 of the 27 Nutcracker shows. A second children’s cast will perform the other 14 shows.
Her efforts are supported by her fifth grade teachers at Heather Hill School who have been giving her make-up assignments for work she’s had to miss to get to rehearsals and performances.
When it comes to movement, Coralie is a natural. Her mom, Kelly, said every time there was music, Coralie would be dancing.
“I remember we were at DisneyWorld waiting for a parade to start and there she was, dancing for people waiting in line,” her mom said.
Coralie is taking lessons in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and musical theater, adding: “I like all of them, but I mostly like to do jazz and tap.”
The Joffrey Ballet performs The Nutcracker through Sunday, Dec. 27. Performances are Thursday and Friday, Dec. 15 and 16, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 17, at 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 18, at 1 and 6 p.m.; Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m.; Thursday Dec. 22, at 2 and 7 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 23, at 2 and 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 24, at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.; Monday, Dec. 26, at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 2 and 7 p.m.
Single tickets start at $36 and are available for purchase at Lyric Opera Box Office, 20 N. Upper Wacker Drive; at 312-386-8905, or online at joffrey.org.