Livi Costello and Ella Backus take on “The Nutcracker”


Julie Costello

Seniors Livi Costello and Ella Backus star in Salt Creek Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker.”

Seniors Livi Costello and Ella Backus have been dancing nearly their whole life. Costello and Backus have had a passion for dancing since they can remember and have taken part in numerous shows and types of dances. As the holiday months approach, Costello and Backus are preparing for yet another show with Salt Creek Ballet, “The Nutcracker.” 

Salt Creek Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” cast gets all dressed up for their performance. (Julie Costello)

“I have been dancing since I was three years old at Salt Creek Ballet,” Costello said. “I have trained in many different types of dance such as ballet, contemporary, character, musical theater, hip hop, jazz, modern, and tap.”

The show takes a lot of their time especially during this time of year. Their intense schedule is hard, yet gratifying. 

“A normal day at dance for me starts around four o’clock. We will have a technique class for either an hour and a half or two hours,” Costello said. “Depending on the day, we will either do class on pointe or on flat. After class, we go right into rehearsals. We run all of our parts everyday making sure we are very prepared for our shows.” 

Natalie Dibartolo, a fellow member of Salt Creek Ballet explains the dancers’ weekend schedule.

“On Saturdays, we have a class for two hours at 11:30 a.m. and then rehearsals all the way until 6 p.m.,” Dibartolo said. 

This year, Costello is featured in the show numerous times through her many roles. 


Performances of “The Nutcracker” are held in Hinsdale Central’s auditorium. (Julie Costello)

“Our next show coming up is ‘The Nutcracker,’” Costello said. “This year I am doing a total of eight roles including Princess Clara, Arabian Principal, Spanish, Mirliton, Columbine Doll, Waltz Solo, Waltz Couple, and Party Mom. We have been preparing for this show since the end of September.” 

Backus takes on multiple roles in the performance as well. 

“I have nine different parts but this upcoming weekend I will perform Princess Clara, Columbine doll, and waltz soloist,” Backus said.

Salt Creek Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” opens Thanksgiving weekend and has shows running through Dec. 18. You can buy tickets to watch Livi, Ella, and their fellow dancers at Salt Creek Ballet.