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WINGSPAN

The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

Dancer’s 13-year journey crescendos to the lead role

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  • After years of practice, sophomore Mason Classe landed her long dreamed role in the Nutcracker: the Sugar Plum Fairy.

  • From a young age, Mason was exposed the world of ballet. Ballet has been a crucial part of Mason’s life ever since she started dancing at three years old.

  • Mason devotes six and a half hours a week to practicing ballet, along with another seven hours spent working on Red Rhythm routines. All this practice may seem excessive, but it is ultimately what landed Mason her role as the Sugar Plum Fairy this year.

  • While ballet has always been Mason’s favorite type of dance, it hasn’t been the only one she’s pursued. Over the years, Mason has been involved in hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, pointe, and tap dancing, all of which have helped her work on her skills and become the ballet dancer she is today.

  • Yearly public performances at Sheena’s, such as the Nutcracker, have helped Mason become more confident with dancing in front of large crowds. Even at seven years old, she was already working on building confidence in her dancing skills so she could not only perform later on, but enjoy dancing publicly.

  • Last year, when Mason played a Spanish Dancer, she danced her routine on pointe. Dancing on pointe is an indicator that the ballerina is skilled and has been doing ballet for a while, as those performing on pointe must dance and balance their entire body weight on the very tips of their toes.

  • Not only is dancing about self-confidence, but it also is about teamwork. Especially in Red Rhythm, where all the dancers work together to perform complex shows, Mason has to be in tune with everyone else in order to put out the best show possible.

She has spent 13 years preparing for this opportunity.

In 2010, she was enrolled in ballet at Sheena’s Dance Academy.

In 2017, she started performing in The Nutcracker with The Frisco Ballet

“I have this memory of my first year of being in The Nutcracker in fourth grade,” she said. “And the mom of the owner of my dance studio came up to me backstage and pointed to Sugar Plum and said, ‘You know, whenever she was little, she was the same role that you were. You could be that one day’.”

The mom of the owner of my dance studio came up to me backstage and pointed to Sugar Plum and said, ‘You know, whenever she was little, she was the same role that you were. You could be that one day’.

— sophomore Mason Classe

Each holiday season would come and go, and so would another role.

One year she was a snowflake.

Another year, she was Clara.

Most recently, she was a Spanish dancer.

But never Sugar Plum. Until this year.

In September of this year, sophomore Mason Classe found out that on Saturday, she would be performing as the Sugar Plum Fairy. 

“It’s so full circle now,” Mason said. “I always think of that moment. I’m carrying on that legacy of those older girls that came before me.”

Dance has always been an enormous part of Mason’s life, but up until a couple years ago, she didn’t necessarily enjoy it.

“I didn’t used to like ballet, but then whenever I first got on pointe… I didn’t like it even more,” she said. “But it was after training a lot and whenever you start to see the results of your hard work that you start to really fall in love with what you do.”

I’ve always found it extremely valuable that she gave her those opportunities to both struggle and to lead,

— mom Melanie Classe

After learning to love it, Mason has realized how much ballet has taught her.

“Especially from ballet, I’ve learned so much discipline because there’s never a day that you go and you get something right away or that you’re going to be perfect because there’s always something to work on,” Mason said. “So I think in my daily life, that has really encouraged me to not expect perfection the first time, which has taken a lot of time to learn because as dancers, we want to be the best, but it’s not always possible, so you’ve got to give yourself grace.”

Mom Melanie Classe, has supported Mason throughout her whole ballet journey.

“Every year, Mason’s studio director makes sure that at least one of her classes is a ‘stretch’ and includes dancers who are more advanced than her which challenges her to work hard and be better,” Melanie said. “She also makes sure that one of Mason’s other classes includes dancers who are less skilled than she is so she can lead by example. I’ve always found it extremely valuable that she gave her those opportunities to both struggle and to lead.”

Mason has encountered some rough patches while doing ballet, but she has continued to dance through her trials.

“If you’ve ever seen the show ‘The Good Place’, I love the quote that ‘You should always try to be a little bit better today than you were yesterday, because it doesn’t matter what you were in the past as long as you try a little bit to be just that tiny bit better’,” Mason said.

Melanie has noticed that Mason’s hard-earned ballet skills have helped her in other aspects of her life as well.

Because a lot of times we can feel like there’s nowhere to go; maybe we’re at the best of our game or we feel like we’re never going to improve, but that’s never the case. There’s always someone else out there who’s going to help you,

— sophomore Mason Classe

“It’s taught her self-discipline, time-management, confidence, presentation skills, and team-work,” Melanie said. “Dancing outside of school gave her a great foundation of technique and experience prior to trying out for Red Rhythm.  Continuing to dance outside of school has allowed her extra time to work on skills and technique.”

Due to the opportunities that came out of ballet and the life lessons she’s learned from dancing, Mason encourages others to continue working towards their goals even when it gets tough.

“There’s never a point where you’re stuck,” Mason said. “Because a lot of times we can feel like there’s nowhere to go; maybe we’re at the best of our game or we feel like we’re never going to improve, but that’s never the case. There’s always someone else out there who’s going to help you.”

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About the Contributor
Olivia Pulley, Staff Reporter

Olivia Pulley is a Sophomore and it’s her first year on Wingspan. On campus, Olivia is part of the National Art Honor Society and the Best Buddies club. Outside of school, you can find her volunteering with her youth group, hanging out with her friends, or shopping. She is very excited to be a part of Wingspan, and can’t wait to see where this year takes her!

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  • M

    Monte HellmanDec 9, 2023 at 8:51 am

    Couldn’t be prouder!
    Great Grandparents,
    Doris and Monte Hellman

    Reply