Classical Ballet Academy is not only a ballet school where dedicated young dancers come to train for future careers in the world of dance; we are also a family. For the past decade Sarah Rigles and the staff of CBA have spent countless hours creating lasting bonds with their students and the families of each student. Thousands of students have experienced their first pointe class at CBA with breathless parents pressed up against the viewing windows quickly snapping picture after picture of their young dancer. Each of these dancers are special and valued by the CBA family, and each have their own unique story of how they found their way to CBA and the world of dance. Many of our dancers, after graduating from CBA, have gone on to dance in college or as professionals in dance companies as far away as Europe. We feel that it is important that past and present dancers of CBA be acknowledged for their accomplishments and talents. We will be featuring different dancers, both past and present, throughout the year. We hope you will help us celebrate each of these young dancers.
Classical Ballet Academy is excited to introduce two of our talented dancers to you as our featured dancers. Fiona and Ruby Staczek are the only two sisters at CBA to both play the part of Clara in CBA’s annual production of The Nutcracker. Fiona played the part of Clara in 2011 at the age of 11, and Ruby played Clara in 2012, also 11 when she played the soloist role. Each of these talented young dancers have a resumé that many would envy.
Ruby Staczek has been dancing for over seven years. In this short amount of time she has performed multiple soloist roles in the pre-professional program at CBA. In addition to playing Clara in The Nutcracker, Ruby has also been a featured soloist playing a doll in both The Nutcracker and Cracked, CBA’s Contemporary twist to The Nutcracker. Ruby is well known for her fiery performance skills and her incredible turns. She proves time and time again to be a force to be reckoned with and an audience favorite.
Along with her accomplishments at Classical Ballet Academy, Ruby has also proven herself in the greater world of dance. She has attended Youth America Grand Prix regionals for two years and placed in the Top 12 for her Contemporary variation in 2013. In 2013 Ruby was invited to attend the YAGP intensive in NYC. Only a small percent of dancers around the world the world are invited to this elite intensive.
In January and February of 2014 Ruby auditioned for some of the most elite summer ballet programs in the United States. She was accepted at Walnut Hill, Nutmeg Conservatory, & received a half scholarship for merit at The Rock. Ruby is also a part of CBA’s award winning NYCDA competition group which received top honors for their performance at regionals.
When asked what Ruby thought her mom would say about her, she replied, “When she sets her mind to something she won’t give up.” Ruby’s dream job in dance would be to dance with American Ballet Theater in NYC. She hopes that someday she will be able to dance the roles of Sugar Plum and Kitri. If her mom is right, nothing will stop her from achieving her goals.
Featured roles Ruby has performed while dancing at Classical Ballet Academy:
Dance Collaborations 2014
Virgina Wolf (Duet with her sister, Fiona)
Kissing Doll Pas de Deux & Battle Bunny
The Nutcracker 2013
Summer Company 2013
Featured soloist in Proud
Fiona Staczek has been dancing for nine years. In these nine years she has performed multiple featured roles and starred in more than one CBA production. Some of Fiona’s most acclaimed performances were Sugar Plum, performed at the age of 13, and Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, where she wowed the audience with six pirouettes and incredible partnering. Fiona, much like her sister, is also a crowd pleaser. She received multiple standing ovations for her performance as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera and always keeps the audience on the edge of her seat with her incredible turning abilities.
Fiona has attended Youth America Grand Prix for the last three years and has placed in the top 12 all three years. In 2012 she placed in the top 12 in the Seattle Regional for her Contemporary variation in the pre-competitive division. In 2013 she received her top 12 for her Classical variation in the Junior division. She topped her own winning streak in 2014 when she placed in top 12 for both her Classical and Contemporary variations. She is the first CBA dancers to place in top 12 for both Classical and Contemporary. Fiona was invited to attend the elite YAGP NYC intensive in both 2013 & 2014. She was one of only three CBA to be invited and to attend in 2014.
Along with her incredible accomplishments at CBA and YAGP, Fiona has also found tremendous success in the elite world of professional dance. Last winter when Fiona auditioned for elite summer programs she was accepted into the following programs: Houston Ballet, Ballet West (1/2 merit scholarship), The Rock (1/2 merit scholarship), and was personally invited by Patricia Barker, the Artistic Director of Grand Rapids Ballet, to attend the GRB summer intensive on a full merit scholarship. Fiona is successful not only in the world of ballet, but in all forms of dance. In 2014 at NYCDA the trio in which Fiona performed received a Platinum score and won first place in the duo/trio category for teen dancers. Fiona dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer and dancing with companies like San Francisco Ballet or American Ballet Theater. If she could dance any role she would love to be given the opportunity to perform Odette and Odile from Swan Lake.
Featured roles Fiona has performed while dancing at Classical Ballet Academy:
Dance Collaborations 2014
Virgina Wolf (Duet with her sister, Ruby)
Spanish Pas de Deux
The Nutcracker 2013
Sugar Plum Fairy
Last Unicorn 2013
Snow Queen and Lead Spanish
Our first featured dancer is Arden Horacek, age 11, who was cast this Fall as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Classical Ballet Academy’s annual production of The Children’s Nutcracker. Arden is a gifted dancer and performer. Her maturity as a dancer and her performance quality are far beyond her age. Arden is indeed a special dancer.
Arden was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, brittle bone condition, which weakens the structure of her bones. She was born with seven in utero breaks and her mother was frightened that holding her child would only cause another fracture. Luckily for the Horacek family, one of the world’s leading doctors had recently moved to Nebraska, where they lived at the time, to start a metabolic bone clinic. Arden was his first patient. She was typed as a moderately severe case and there was worry as to whether she would ever be able to walk. A new drug had been developed that her doctor believed would help her bone structure and increase her bone density. She was given her first IV treatment when she was ten days old and she took her first steps when she was seventeen months old.
Both of her femurs and tibias have internal telescoping rods placed in them to help her bones grow straight and to give them additional strength. Arden is still receiving the IV infusions and flies back to Nebraska every time she needs to have new rods. She has already had nine surgeries in her short life.
Arden began taking ballet at the age of three as an alternative to physical therapy. After seeing a friend dance in Classical Ballet Academy’s annual production of The Nutcracker she decided she would like to dance there as well. She fell in love with ballet and her teachers at CBA.
This year has been a special year for Arden. Not only was she cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy, but her doctor gave her permission to go on pointe, a dream come true. Her mother, like all the other mothers, stood in the room on the first day of pointe class watching her child, who doctors thought would never walk, dance like a ballerina. Arden broke her leg last month and was devastated that her beloved teacher Miss Sarah may not allow her to dance in the shows. When Miss Sarah told her that she would still be allowed to dance she began working even harder to heal so that she could perform.
Arden hopes to continue dancing and take on roles such as Arabian in The Nutcracker and Kitri in Don Quixote. She has yet to decide whether she would like to be a professional dancer or a surgeon when she grows up. When asked if she would want to do both, she replied that each would require a full commitment and she didn’t think she could do both. Her favorite subjects in school are Math and Creative Writing. She admitted that as much as she loves to write, she never finishes any of her stories. Arden stated: “I’m not really a finisher, I’m a starter.” Once you see Arden dance or talk to her about her dreams it becomes clear that nothing will finish Arden. She will only have new beginnings.
Arden is spending the Thanksgiving break with her family in New York City where she will get to see New York City Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker. When she returns from her trip she will dance her Sugar Plum Fairy variation at Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall in Classical Ballet Academy’s production of The Children’s Nutcracker. Keep an eye out for Arden’s mom in the audience. She will be the woman weeping while watching her daughter’s dreams come true.