Photos by Susan Blackburn.
SARATOGA SPRINGS/ BALLSTON SPA — Alexandra Nicolaus, a senior at Ballston Spa High School and a dedicated dancer at Saratoga School of the Arts is casted for the second time in her career, as the Sugar Plum Fairy in her studio’s annual production of The Nutcracker.
“This probably is my biggest role. I also did it as a Sophomore,” said Nicolaus. “It’s nice coming back to that role, but with more experience.”
Nicolaus began dancing when she was three years old. Prior to, she was enrolled in gymnastics classes, but her parents figured out rather quickly that she and gymnastics, just weren’t the right fit.
“I started taking gymnastics classes and I insisted on wearing a pink leotard and tutu to gymnastics,” said Nicolaus.
What a perfect fit that ballet tutu was as 14 years later Nicolaus Is still just as much in love with ballet’s unique blend of grace and strength.
Like many dancers, Nicolaus hoards her old dance shoes, kept protectively in a bin.
“Yes, I have a whole bin of all pointe shoes. I don’t throw them away...I keep them all.”
Among her collection of shoes is a pair that was gifted to her by her biggest inspiration, Megan Fairchild, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet.
“We had a school project that year to write a letter to someone and try to persuade them to do something. I wrote a letter to her and asked her for her pointe shoes,” said Nicolaus. “She wrote back a really nice response and sent me her pointe shoes.”
Contemporary, modern, ballet and pointe are all of the different artforms of movement Nicolaus dedicates several hours a week to. From the seven days she spends in the studio, to her at home workouts and stretch routines. Throughout all of the practice, time and performances, she names her mother as her biggest supporter.
“She comes to every show, she’s always in the front row, she makes sure I could be here (the studio) every day,” said Nicolaus.
Outside of the studio, Nicolaus is a dedicated student and currently the Salutatorian at her high school.
As a member of the student council, science Olympiad, and being on the Junior Board of “Buddy, Blankets, Bears” a local charity in Ballston Spa) she has to strategically balance her school and dance life. Immediately after school she strives to complete as much of her homework as possible before attending her classes. To maximize her time, she often stretches while completing her reading assignments.
While pursuing dance in college is a goal of hers, she is also determined to enroll in a
As Nicolaus looks onto the next phase of her academic and dance career, she leaves behind some words of advice to other up-and-coming dancers.
“To always keep trying, and to find what you enjoy in it. It can be a lot to get here every day, just working in the studio. But if each class you try and find something that you love about it, it’s just more rewarding.”