"A sweet story that teaches the benefits of hard work, determination and focus." -Julie Kertes, LA Parent Magazine
Mom (Nancy Palmer)
Dad (Leo Palmer)
Nine-year-old Isabelle is a dynamic dancer with a flair for fashion. A student at Anna Hart School of the Arts, she loves ballet. But when she's cast in a professional production and is taunted by a castmate about not measuring up to her talented older sister, Jade, Isabelle quickly loses confidence. Can she tune out criticism and focus instead on her own unique talents?
Thirteen-year-old Jade is a legend at Anna Hart because of her grace and skill as a dancer. As she prepares for a role in The Nutcracker, though, she faces a case of perfectionism—feeling as if she's not allowed to make a mistake. As she struggles with the pressure, can she find the time to lend an ear to her little sister, Isabelle, who is facing struggles of her own?
Isabelle's mom is a textile artist who turns fabric scraps into funky mobiles and wall hangings. Mom supports Isabelle's passion for design, and one of her mobiles inspires the water lily imagery that may help Isabelle regain her confidence onstage. Mom encourages her to stop comparing herself to Jade and to focus instead on being the best Isabelle she can be.
A hospital administrator by day, Isabelle's dad is a jazz musician by night. He plays drums with her friend Luisa's father, whom Isabelle calls "Uncle Davi," on the weekends. As an active father, Leo has a great sense of humor and can be found flipping pancakes for his girls or finding other fun ways to spend time with them.
One of Isabelle's best friends, Luisa is a free-spirited, energetic Brazillian girl. She attends Anna Hart like Isabelle, but her passion is modern dance rather than ballet. She's quick to defend Isabelle against the insults of classmates, and when Isabelle gets bogged down in rehearsals, it's her friend Luisa who reminds her to make time for fun.
A fellow fourth grader at Anna Hart, Renata enjoys calling out the ways in which she thinks Isabelle will never measure up to her sister, Jade. Renata competes with Isabelle for everything from roles in The Nutcracker to the attention of Jackie Sanchez. Only one fourth grader will make it into the ballet program in the city next summer, and Renata is determined to be the one.
Isabelle's idol, Jackie Sanchez went to school at Anna Hart and later became a principal dancer at New York City Ballet. She's now performing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker with students from Anna Hart. Jackie was inspired by her grandmother who used to be a folk dancer, and Jackie helps Isabelle see how she can inspire others, too.