Solana Beach-trained dancer now with Miami ballet

Sophie Williams began to dream of sugarplums when she first saw a professional performance of the “Nutcracker” ballet at the tender age of 2. Her mother started to look for classes that would take her enthralled 3-year-old daughter.

Now 18, Sophie is dancing with the Miami City Ballet.

Her training began at the Ballet Arte Academy of Classical Ballet in Solana Beach, where she was a student for 10 years under the guidance of artistic directors Erlends Zieminch and Sara Viale before joining Miami City Ballet.

“I have so many wonderful memories of Ballet Arte, all because of my teachers, Sara and Erlends, who are the most dedicated people I’ve ever known,” said Sophie. “They always put 150 percent into their teaching every day. After training here for 10 years, I can honestly say that you will never find a more supportive place to dance.”

In May, Sophie travelled to Miami to audition as a trainee with the Miami City Ballet. The artistic staff watched the audition class and put up a cast list the same day for their production of “Western Symphony.”

Sophie was delighted to see that she was cast as a second-movement principal along with understudying and dancing with the corps de ballet.

Asked what it was like to be a part of a professional ballet company for the first time, Sophie said, “It is such an amazing and rewarding experience to be able to perform with so many advanced professional dancers every day.”

Her training continues with daily class, followed by rehearsals throughout the afternoon, and later she may opt to take an additional class with one of the younger levels in the Miami City Ballet School. Her dream, like almost every young dancer’s, is to one day be able to dance principal roles with a major ballet company.

Sophie will be home for the holidays and has been invited back to Ballet Arte to dance in their annual production of “The Nutcracker.” Over the past 10 years, she has performed every role in this ballet and now will be dancing for the first time as a guest artist. The little girl who once dreamed of sugarplums is well on her way to fulfilling her own dreams.

If you go: Ballet Arte Nutcracker: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21 at the David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre, Lawrence Family JCC, La Jolla. Box Office: 858-362-1348; order online:

The Ballet Arte Academy is at 742 Genevieve St., Suite R, Solana Beach. Call 858-259-5505.