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Delavan girl dances in Joffrey's 'Nutcracker'

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Margaret Plevak | December 22, 2013

DELAVAN — In the world of ballet, 9-year-old Ella Weerts already has cred — and connections to the Sugar Plum Fairy.

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This month, the third-grader at Our Redeemer Lutheran School in Delavan is part of the cast in the Joffrey Ballet's “The Nutcracker,” being performed at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago.

Ella was 3 when her mother, Christine Weerts, first took her to classes at The Dance Factory studio in Delavan. Ella wasn't sure she'd like dance lessons, but the minute the instructor played the bouncy theme song from the TV show, “Dora the Explorer,” she was out on the floor. Since then, she's enrolled in ballet, tap and jazz dance classes.

Weerts, a nurse practitioner at the Aurora Health Clinic in Delavan, took ballet lessons as a child, too. But while she dropped the lessons once she became a teenager, signs indicate Ella will remain at the ballet barre.

“I loved dance when I was a girl. It was fun, but I didn't have the talent Ella does,” Weerts said. “Ella's more disciplined than I was. At 9 years old, I was not thinking about it as much. She pushes herself.”

Tina Hansen, owner of The Dance Factory, believes the best students in her studio are, like Ella, passionate and drawn to dance.

“When you see Ella on stage, you can't help but watch her. She's an animated little spirit and very well mannered,” Hansen said.

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