“Clara” performs more than 70 shows each winter as part of the Rockettes’ “Christmas Spectacular” at the iconic Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Thousands of spectators watch this the production every holiday season. Thirteen-year-old Alexandra Hoffmann from Mesa, Arizona has been “Clara” for the last two years.
This month, she will be dancing at sold out galas in California among professional dancers. She has experience in various dance styles, danced in many roles, has competed in prestigious dance competitions and has won prestigious awards and scholarships.
Hoffmann has been dancing since she was 2 years old after her mother noticed she was “bouncing off the walls.” She tried gymnastics and dance, but once she began performing on stage, her mother noticed she loved the stage and decided to let her focus on dance. But it wasn’t until she was about 7 years old that her passion for dance took off. At around 9 years old, Alexandra Hoffman began intense dance practice.
Through her years, she has been immersed in different training styles and various forms of dance. Her favorite is ballet, but she also has practiced contemporary, jazz, ballroom, character folk dance, flamenco, lyrical, and occasionally hip-hop.
Currently, Hoffmann trains in the pre-professional program at Russian Ballet Academy at Club Dance in Arizona, where she thrives in the classic Vaganova ballet program under the direction of Olga Tarasova. Tarasova has been her ballet instructor since she was 7 years old.
Mazie Hoffmann, Alexandra Hoffmann’s mother, said since she lacks a background in dance, Olga spotted her talent and potential at a young age. “I am blessed to have Olga because she has really helped me to know what to do with her.”
The Vaganova method is a ballet technique and training system devised by the Russian dancer and pedagogue Agrippina Vaganova. The method fuses elements of traditional French style from the romantic era with the athleticism and virtuosity of Italian technique.
Club Dance recently won the national awards for Best Studio and Olga Tarasova has won Best Teacher.
Alexandra Hoffmann is motivated by her passions and love for the sport and says that her strengths are expressing herself. She “loves making the audience feel something.”
But Hoffmann’s biggest challenge is that in ballet there is “so much to work on and it is never perfect because there are so many details,” she says. “You have to think of all the corrections at once and it is hard to progress. But it feels really good once you accomplish it.”
Mazie Hoffmann says her happiest moment as a parent is “seeing your child doing what they love and somethings that keeps them growing and being good at it.”
This happened for Alexandra Hoffmann at Radio City Music Hall.
Though Radio City may be Hoffmann’s favorite performance to date, she must move on to a new role next year as she has grown past the height requirement for the role of Clara. Before that, she was cast as Clara for Ballet Arizona’s production of “The Nutcracker” at Symphony Hall.
Most recently, Hoffmann competed at the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City and was one of the top finalists. She made it to the final round, where she performed on the Lincoln Center stage. She has earned gold and silver awards in the competition.
She has also been invited to perform at sold-out ballet galas alongside top ballet professionals.
In the past year, Hoffmann has performed solos at Festival Ballet Theatre’s “Gala of the Stars,” Miami Ballet Festival, and Ballet West’s “Night of Shining Stars.”
She is scheduled to perform at Apollo Arts “Masters and Youth Ballet Gala” and Festival Ballet Theatre’s 10th anniversary “Gala of the Stars,” which will feature Misty Copeland and some of the world’s most prestigious ballet stars of this month.
Recently, Hoffmann has received numerous scholarships to prestigious ballet schools around the world. Though she was offered longer residencies during the school year, which is more prestigious than in the summer, she stayed only a week each at the John Cranko School in Germany, the Royal Ballet in London, and the School of American Ballet in New York City.
In the future, Hoffmann hopes to be able to dance for a big company, but may take college classes on the side when the time comes.
Besides dancing and spending time with her family and friends, Hoffmann spends her time being artistic. She plays the harp, the piano, sings and enjoys crafting. She enjoys going to Disney.
Her advice for upcoming dancers or anyone is, “Don’t give up. Keep working hard on your dreams. If you love it, do it.”