Behind Graham Lustig’s “The Nutcracker” – Spotlight on Peggy Peabody

Oakland Ballet Company is pleased to bring you: “Behind Graham Lustig’s ‘The Nutcracker’” as part of our “Behind Oakland Ballet” blog.  Throughout December, we will be posting interviews with professional dancers, staff, volunteers, and superfans!  Make sure to check out these fun, behind-the-scenes features and learn why Oakland Ballet Company is so loved by our community.  

Peggy PeadbodyPeggy Peabody is the Artistic Director of Ballet Petit.  Peggy has been involved with ballet for most of her life as a student, professional dancer and teacher. In 1983, she opened her first ballet school in Newark, CA. Over the years, Ballet Petit has grown into larger facilities and just recently moved into a gorgeous permanent space in Hayward, fulfilling one of Ms. Peabody’s life-long dreams. Peggy has been an avid supporter of Oakland Ballet for many years – we were thrilled to interview her and find out why OBC has a special place in Peggy’s heart.

How you are affiliated with OBC and how did you get involved?

I am the Artistic Director of Ballet Petit in Hayward. We have long been associated with OBC in a variety of ways. For the last several years, I have been happy to encourage our dancers at BP to perform with the Oakland Ballet in Graham Lustig’s Nutcracker. Last summer Ballet Petit hosted OBC’s Summer Intensive, Ballet Boot Camp. Originally I became involved with the Oakland Ballet when I was in college, many years ago. Having danced my entire life, I wanted to continue to be inspired by the presence of professional dancers.

Why is OBC important to Oakland?

Oakland is a very diverse community. One of the important needs of a diverse community is the preservation and development of all aspects of the community’s art and culture. The Oakland Ballet serves an important role in this way. The Oakland Ballet, itself a diverse organization, can provide Oakland’s citizens with a unique artistic perspective that can inspire its citizens and improve the quality of life for those who live here.

What is your favorite scene in the Nutcracker?

I love the Snow Scene. It is a favorite of mine in almost any production. Maybe it is the music, or maybe in this case it is because the first role my dancers did in OBC’s Nutcracker was the Snowballs. The young dancers were so excited and loved every minute of that wonderful experience.

How long have you been dancing?

I started dancing when I could barely walk. I started studying classical ballet in 1967. I still take classes each week. Let’s not do the math!! I have been dancing a long time, and will continue as long as I can.

What advice would you give young dancers?

Remember why you dance. You probably dance because you love it and it fills a special part of your life. Always remember that, and keep dancing.”

Have you seen improvement among your dancers in the Nutcracker? If so, in what way?

Our dancers have many performance opportunities each year. The thing that happens when they perform with the Oakland Ballet is that they have the privilege of working among professional dancers. Younger dancers get to watch up close the habits and work ethic of others who share their passion for dance, AND have achieved professional status. This inspires our younger dancers and sets “the barre” a little higher. In return, these precious moments of inspiration fuel our passion.

To see Peggy’s students in Graham Lustig’s “The Nutcracker”, get your tickets here.

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