Seeing her daughter Jacqueline Sugianto playing Marie in The Nutcracker this winter felt like déjà vu for Linda Leowinata.
Seven years earlier, her eldest daughter, Stella Leowinata, was dancing the same part.
“I couldn’t believe that I had two girls that played the same role,” says the North York mother. “When I saw Jacqueline in her first performance, it was truly touching.”
Jacqueline says she was in shock when she found out she’d landed the coveted role of Marie in this year’s National Ballet of Canada production.
“Knowing I’d be doing the same role as (Stella), and later she’ll be watching me, that’s so cool,” says a bubbly Jacqueline.
The 11-year-old is one of several ballerinas playing the young girl who is given a nutcracker for Christmas in 19th-century Russia, taking her on a journey filled with unicorns, dancing bears and a band of evil mice, all set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score.
“She really goes on such a wonderful journey,” says Jacqueline, who began studying ballet when she was three-and-a-half years old.
Now she’s a Grade six student at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, training for hours every day alongside her academic studies.
Her sister Emily Sugianto, 14, is a grade nine student at the school; Stella, 18, graduated in June and is now attending the Central School of Ballet in London, England.
Stella says she was excited to learn her younger sister was playing the role she’d performed back in 2007.
“I have such fond memories of dancing Marie in (The) Nutcracker and I am happy she will get to experience the rare chance to be a lead role as a kid in this amazing production,” she says.
Over the years, all three ballerina sisters have danced in various roles in the National Ballet of Canada’s productions of The Nutcracker.
“It’s magical for Jacqueline to be on stage, and it’s magical for (us) to have this long Nutcracker experience,” says Linda, who also danced while growing up in Indonesia — ballet, mostly, and some jazz, traditional Indonesian dances and Chinese folk dances as well.
Linda says her parents both danced, too; her mom did traditional Chinese dancing, while her father was a ballroom dancer.
“I guess it’s in the blood,” she says.
Linda now runs the Poise Dance program at the Children’s Fitness Centre of Canada. She often wondered about having all three of her daughters in dance, but realized it’s what they all love.
“As long as they’re happy, we’re happy too,” she says.
Down the road, Jacqueline says she wants to be a dancer at the National Ballet of Canada. “That’s my number one goal,” she says.
She’d also like to grace the stage again for The Nutcracker — next time as the Sugar Plum Fairy or the Snow Queen.
The National Ballet of Canada’s production of The Nutcracker runs until Jan. 3, 2015, at The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
Source: The Star