By Steve Sucato for The Buffalo News
It’s a homecoming of sorts for Buffalo’s Adelaide Clauss. The 24-year-old rising star with the Washington Ballet will perform with the company at nearby Chautauqua Institution in shows Aug. 10 and Aug. 13 with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. It is the first time in recent memory, if not the first time ever, the prestigious ballet company from our nation’s capital will perform in the region.
Clauss began her dance training at age 5 with The Neglia Conservatory of Ballet and quickly established herself as a unique talent garnering lead roles in Neglia Ballet Artists’ “The Nutcracker” and “Baba Yaga.”
“She has an amazing facility [for dance],” said Heidi Halt, executive director of Neglia Ballet. “She was always the hardest worker in the room and brought joy with her into the studio.”
Halt recalled an early indication of Clauss’s innate artistry as a dancer in one of her first performances at 6 or 7 years with Neglia Ballet Artists’ portraying a flower creature in “Baba Yaga” that was supposed to act scared when the witch Baba Yaga comes near. “I saw her face onstage in that moment and she looked like she was about to cry. When she came off the stage, I asked her if she was okay and she looked at me, smiled, and said ‘yeah, I was just acting.’”
Clauss continued her training at 14 at The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, where she originated the role of young Clara in Alexei Ratmansky’s new “The Nutcracker” production for ABT. She then joined ABT’s Studio Company, following in the footsteps of notable dancers Misty Copeland and David Hallberg before joining The Washington Ballet in 2016 where she has danced several featured roles including most recently the lead roles of Odette/Odile in “Swan Lake” at The Kennedy Center.
Now in her sixth season with The Washington Ballet, Clauss says she loves returning to Buffalo (when she can) to teach and to perform at Neglia Ballet Artists’ annual Spring Galas.