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This Pennsylvania Ballet Apprentice Landed a Principal Role in The Nutcracker

Sydney Dolan in company class. Photo by Scott Serio.

Pennsylvania Ballet apprentice Sydney Dolan is having a Nutcracker season she'll never forget.

Artistic director Angel Corella knew he'd found something special when Dolan attended his school's week-long Company Experience summer workshop in 2016. Within days, he offered her a company contract— without realizing that she was only 15 at the time.

She joined anyway. Now 16, she debuted as the Dewdrop Fairy in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker this weekend. We went backstage to find out how she handled the pressures of tackling a principal role while still just a teenage apprentice.


Sydney Dolan stretching during company class before a Sunday show of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Photo by Scott Serio.


After finishing company class and before getting her hair and makeup done, Dolan practices her Dewdrop solo before an empty house. Photo by Scott Serio.


Dolan talks with Pennsylvania Ballet artistic director Angel Corella about her Dewdrop Fairy solo during intermission. Photo by Scott Serio.


Onstage performing as Dewdrop for the first time. Photo by Scott Serio.


Dolan is congratulated by parents and fellow company member and boyfriend Austin Eyler after her performance. Photo by Scott Serio.

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