Sophia Coakley, who danced her way into ‘The Nutcracker’

Sophia Coakley hopes to pursue an acting career when she grows up. Courtesy photo

DRACUT —   Fourth-grader Sophia Coakley has been selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants from across New Hampshire and Massachusetts to dance in the New England Dance Ensemble’s performances of The Nutcracker .

Sophia will take the stage on Dec. 11-12 at the new Windham (N.H.) High School Theater to perform as one of the soldiers in the production, which also features professional guest artists from New York City’s American Ballet Theater.

The 9-year-old, who also sings in The Treble Chorus of New England and plays the violin, is a ballet student at The Londonderry Dance Academy and at Interstate Gymnastics in Methuen. She took time to speak with the Dispatch recently.

Q: What kind of dance preparation have you had for your role as a soldier in The Nutcracker?

A: I take ballet classes two days a week. We’re doing all the foot positions and things like plies and different steps. You do have to keep your toes pointed a lot —   pretty much everything you do you need pointy toes.

I’m also still doing gymnastics classes. Floor exercise is my favorite; it’s the most fun. It helps me become better in flexibility. I can do a front limber now —   you do a handstand and you land in a back bend.

Q: Can you tell us what The Nutcracker is about?

A : It’s about a girl, Clara. She gets a toy Nutcracker for a Christmas present and at night it comes to life with magic, but the mice —   which are the bad guys — come and have a big fight and Clara gets turned small. The play is mostly about the journey that Clara and the Nutcracker take after that. They go to a land with snowflakes that dance around and there’s a sugar plum fairy. There are dancers from different countries; there’s Russian dancers and Spanish dancers and all different types.

Q: Between school, dance, chorus and playing the violin, do you have any spare time to just be a kid?

A: I do. This will be probably my fourth year playing softball in the Dracut Rec League. I’m on the Cardinals every year. We get to try different positions. I like pitching. On the weekends, I usually play with my friends. We play games and make up plays. I also like to play with my dogs, Lulu and Rexy. Sorry, you can probably hear them barking.

Q: Do you have a favorite dancer or singer?

A: I like Lacey Chabert and her partner Kyle on Dancing With The Stars . They put a lot of acting and props in their dances.

For a singer, I really like Selena Gomez. My favorite Selena Gomez song I really like is “Naturally.” I listen to it on the radio on Kiss 108. My favorite show used to be Blake & Josh on Nickelodeon. Now it’s Wizards of Waverly Place . Selena Gomez is on it.

Q: What do you want to do when you grow up?

A: I would like to do acting. I’d like to probably do movies or TV shows or something like that because I like TV so much. But if that doesn’t work out, I’d like to be a marine biologist.