By Ethan Colbert
Within the hallways of Bowling Green Middle School, Kailey Flowers Luebrecht is known for her quiet demeanor.
However, that demeanor changes when the seventh-grader slides her feet into her Pointe shoes and steps out on the stage of Touhill Performing Arts Theatre on the University of Missouri — St. Louis campus.
“Her teachers at school always tell us that she needs to speak up in class,” Krista Flowers said in an interview with the Bowling Green Times. Krista is Kailey’s mother. “Yet, she can get right up on that stage, in front of all of those people and perform without any trouble.”
Krista said it is thrilling to watch her daughter perform on stage.
“The thing that thrills me the most is that I get to see her confidence and her poise just grow,” Krista said. “I’m seeing her learn new skills as an entertainer, as an athlete and as an artist. To see her develop those qualities together is really exciting for me.”
According to Kailey, there is a tremendous amount of freedom underneath the bright lights of a performing arts theatre. She also said there is a large amount of adrenaline.
“When you get on that stage to perform in front of everybody, your mind just goes like, ‘Wow, this is so cool,’” Kailey said in a recent interview with the Bowling Green Times.
Kailey will get to embrace that freedom and the feel of the adrenaline later this month when she and members of the St. Louis Ballet Company’s stage “The Nutcracker.”
“The Nutcracker” production includes 11 performances, with dates ranging from December 15 through December 23. Tickets to the performance are available at Touhill.org.
The Bowling Green teenager auditioned in October for a role and was later cast as a child attending a holiday party.
“At the party, Clara and Fritz’s parents are throwing a party and have invited all of their friends over,” Kailey said, who portrays one of the invited guests. During her time on stage, Kailey will perform a choreographed dance with two professional ballet dancers who portray her parents in the production.
According to St. Louis Ballet Executive and Artistic Director Gen Horiuchi, any young person who has been selected to be a member of this year’s cast has “worked many hours in this art form and just like any athlete who has worked hours to participate in the Olympics, it is a dream come true for an aspiring dancer.”
An ‘aspiring dancer’ inadequately describes just how passionate Kailey is about ballet.
Starting this spring, Kailey will begin online coursework to study French — which is the official language of ballet — in addition to her studies at BGMS.
Last summer, the Pike County teenager spent five weeks at a ballet program in Chicago. For this summer, she has applied to programs in Houston, Kansas City and Chicago.
And when she is not riding in the family’s car between the St. Louis Ballet Company’s training center in Chesterfield and her family’s home in Bowling Green, the teenager said she dreams of one day playing the role of Clara in “The Nutcracker” and being in the comedic ballet, La Fille Mal Gardee, or the Wayward Daughter.
In order to audition for the role of Clara, Kailey will need to continue her five day per week trainings for two more years.
“It would be amazing,” Kailey said of what it would be like to be cast as Clara, one of the main characters in “The Nutcracker.” “It would mean that I am good enough.”
And while Kailey is likely Bowling Green’s first classically trained ballet dancer, she hopes she is not the last.
The teenager said she hopes that others will develop a love and a passion for dancing like she has.
“I would tell people to try ballet,” Kailey said. “If you don’t like ballet, that is ok, but if you don’t give it a try, then you’ll never know if you don’t.”
To see more stories like this one pick up a copy of the Bowling Green Times at one of the following convenient locations.
Bowling Green Times
Abel’s Quik Shop
Ayerco Travel Plaza
Bowling Green Pharmacy
Pike County Courthouse
Abel’s Quik Shop
Green’s Family Drug
Pike County Memorial Hospital
MeMe’s Mart & More