Close friends share role of Sugar Plum in IBC’s production of ‘The Nutcracker’


As a 16-year-old, Abigail Kimball is making her 14th appearance in Indiana Ballet Conservatory’s production of “The Nutcracker.”


“I’ve been here my whole life,” Kimball said. “I know these teachers so well.

Kimball, a Fishers resident, is making her second appearance as Sugar Plum, having performed in a taped 2020 production. She is sharing the role with Aurora Ausserer.

“I’m super excited to perform ‘Nutcracker’ with Aurora because she’s my best friend,” Kimball said. “I really like being able to share this role with her and planning all our ‘Nutcracker’ events.”

Both students are seniors and take online classes. The Carmel-based Indiana Ballet Conservatory will present “The Nutcracker” Nov. 27-28 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. The performances are at 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 27 and 1 and 6 p.m. Nov. 28.

“It’s such a beautiful theater,” Kimball said. “We appeared there with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir two years ago. It’s really big and we have a ton of room to move.”

IBC is presenting the “The Nutcracker” for the second time at the Palladium.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the performance was recorded for families in IBC’s studio.


“It was different because we had to socially distance,” Kimball said. “It was a different experience trying to partner but not touch. We had to do everything without touching. It was really crazy.”

Ausserer, 16, will appear in the opening and closing shows as Sugar Plum, and Kimball will perform the role in the shows in between. The dancers perform Arabian soloist and Waltz roles when not doing Sugar Plum.

Ausserer, who is in her second year at IBC, moved from Seattle to the north side of Indianapolis with her family to dance at IBC.

“I’m really excited because this will be my first one on a stage with IBC,” Ausserer said. “When I was just studying ballet, I always wanted to do Sugar Plum. I’m especially excited to do it at IBC with all my friends. I’m thankful because Abigail and I are so close. We had so many seniors leave this year, but we got to be together another year. I think we are even closer.”

There are only seven dancers in the elite level classes that Ausserer and Kimball take. There were 15 last year but eight graduated.

“We have more 1-on-1 time and (IBC founding Artistic Director Alyona Yakovleva-Randall) can help us grow ever more,” Kimball said.

Yakovleva-Randall, a Carmel resident, said staff have been working hard on creating a set. And guest artist Sebastian Vinet is part of the show.

“It’s the first time we’ve collaborated with Sebastian, and we are very excited,” Yakovleva-Randall said.

Vinet is a traveling international artist from Chile.

Yakovleva-Randall’s IBC performance is based on the original choreographed version from Russia.

“I always adjust from the student numbers and talent level,” she said. “It’s always adjusting. It’s never the same performance. It’s always different performers. I know all the parts because I’ve danced in it from A to Z.”

IBC members will perform selected choreography from “The Nutcracker” on the Carmel Christkindlmarkt stage from 4:10 to 4:35 p.m. Nov. 20; 3 to 3:45 p.m. Nov. 24; 2 to 2:45 p.m. Dec. 10; and 4 to 4:45 Dec. 16.

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