Beckley dancer continues family legacy
BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) -Sixteen-year-old Lucy Bickey is one of many students enrolled at the Beckley Dance Theatre School. Each year around Christmastime, the school performs The Nutcracker for the local community; and, each year, one of the most coveted roles is that of Clara, a young girl who visits a magical land, meeting a nutcracker prince, evil mouse king and sugar plum fairies along the way.
So, when Lucy found out she was one of two girls chosen to portray Clara, she was over the moon, not just because it’s a lead role, but because she is the fourth woman in her family to dance the part.
“Well, I’ve always kind of known that my aunts and mother did it and so I would kind of think about myself a little bit,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh, maybe there’s like a chance, maybe just maybe,’ and it was just so special to get it, and I’m so excited.”
Lucy’s mother, Heidi Bickey, danced in this role almost 40 years ago in Wisconsin, and she says The Nutcracker has shaped her family’s life in more ways than one:
“I did the role in 1985 when I was a little girl, and both of her aunts have done it, and now, she gets to do it, and, actually, she wouldn’t be here without this Nutcracker, because I met my husband 25 years ago...”
Then, in 1993 and 1994, Lucy’s aunts on her dad’s side laced up their ballet shoes to tackle the part at the same dance studio where Lucy has been dancing since she was four.
“I just love how she’s embracing this connection to her lineage, because I feel like that’s so important,” said Melissa McCloud. “I think, maybe when I was younger, I didn’t realize how important it was, so it’s really wonderful. She really sees the connection to her family and that we’re here for her.”
“I just feel that she’s worked really, really hard,” added Bronwen Justice. “She’s a wonderful dancer, absolutely beautiful. I love to watch her dance and I think this is going to be very, very special for her and for our family.”
As for Lucy, she says she’s thankful for the opportunity to do what she loves while growing closer to her family along the way.
“It’s just something we can all connect with now, and I think that it’s something so special and can bond us even more, and I’m just so honored and appreciative of this role I get to play.”
Lucy and her fellow dancers have been rehearsing all week at the Woodrow Wilson High School theatre. The Nutcracker opens for the season on Friday, December 2, and runs through Sunday, December 4. For tickets, call 304-255-5684.
There are also two performances of The Nutcracker scheduled at The Greenbrier Resort on December 29 and December 30. For tickets, call 855-453-4858.
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