Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight (2014) Script




Eyes up, looking out.

That's right, lift up.

Chins up.

Five, six, seven, eight.

Balance, and two. Pique up, and soutenu.

Good. Tombe.

Pas de bourree.

Releve, chins up. And double pirouette.

Nice triple, Renata.

Great technique, as usual. Next time, smile.

Isabelle, keep up.

Sorry, Ms. Hawken.

Sometimes it's like Isabelle is dancing to a completely different song.

She's nothing like her sister.

MS. HAWKEN: Let's focus on our own dancing.

And finish.



Okay, kids, keep up the practicing at home, please.

The Halloween Benefit is in just two weeks.

And some of us still have a lot of work to do.



Don't listen to her. Come on.

That shirt beyond rocks.


I can't believe you made it yourself.

I didn't exactly make it.

I found it in a vintage shop and added some stuff to make it look more like me.

So, a thrift shop, huh? I could have guessed that.

I don't really care for thrift shops myself. They're so stinky.


My parents and I go shopping together all the time.

But definitely not at thrift shops.

Congratulations. You don't shop at thrift stores.

We get it. You're awesome.


RENATA: Whatever. You need to tell her what's what.

Then she'll stop bothering you.

It's not just Renata. It's this school.

No one can even get my name right.

Yesterday my math teacher called me "Jade's sister."

Your sister Jade is kind of a legend.

GIRL: Hey, Luisa. Hi, guys.

Looks like you're used to it.

Don't you ever miss our old school?

Not really. I mean, I've always wanted to come to a performing arts school to study modern dance.

So I'm just happy to be here.

I should be happy, too. I only tried out three times to get in here. [CHUCKLES]

But it's hard when I keep messing up in ballet class.

It's never happened to me before.

Ever since I got into this school, no matter how hard I work, it feels like I'm getting worse instead of better.

I can't even land a double pirouette anymore.

You saw me in class today.

I'm gonna be a complete disaster at the Halloween Benefit!

I can just hear Ms. Hawken.

"Poor Isabelle.

"Her big sister Jade

"is the best dancer in the whole school... [CHUCKLES]

"...and she's just a total loser."



Speaking of my perfect sister...

Jade! I heard about The Nutcracker auditions.

You're totally gonna get Clara. You dance every lead.

That's nice of you to say, but there are a lot of really great dancers here.

Like my little sis!

See you in ballet class, Isabelle.


I told you she's never nice to me unless you're around.

What audition is she talking about, though?

I just found out!

The Capital Ballet Theatre is doing The Nutcracker.

And they're casting the kid dancers from Anna Hart students!

No way! That's amazing!

That's not even the best part.

Guess who's playing the Sugarplum Fairy? Who?

Wait for it.

Come on!

Jackie Sanchez! Our all-time favorite ballerina!

No way! I know.




[SINGING] You in the corner, why you acting shy?

♪ You've got a light that you try to hide ♪

♪ Don't be afraid. ♪ ♪ Gotta let it shine ♪

♪ Don't be afraid. ♪ ♪ Gotta let it shine ♪

♪ Step to the rhythm, can you feel the beat? ♪

♪ Listen to your heart, let it tell your feet ♪

♪ Stomp out your fear, time to break free ♪

♪ Stomp out your fear, time to break free ♪

♪ Just let go ♪

♪ You got the gift ♪ ♪ Time for the world to know ♪

♪ Let it show ♪

♪ Get it ready Get it ready ♪

♪ You are, you are your own star ♪

♪ You'll go far if you follow your heart ♪

♪ Never give up, never back down ♪ Come on. Let's go dance.

That's okay. I'm just gonna finish my lunch.


That lunch looks pretty finished to me.

♪ Promise you'll never stop believin' ♪

[CHANTING] STUDENTS: Go, go, go, go, go, go, go.

♪ Everybody sing it ♪

♪ You are, you are your own star ♪

♪ You'll go far if you follow your heart ♪

♪ Never give up, never back down ♪ ♪ Never give up, never back down ♪

♪ You are, you are your own star ♪

♪ You'll go far if you follow your heart ♪

♪ Promise you'll never stop your dreamin' ♪

♪ Promise you'll never stop believin' ♪


♪ Promise you'll never stop believin' ♪




JADE: Jackie Sanchez was so amazing, even back then.

I can't believe she's coming here to do The Nutcracker!

I guess she must agree that 'The Nutcracker' is the best ballet ever.

I mean, it's all about a nutcracker that turns into a prince on Christmas Eve!

And then the Prince takes Clara to a magical land made out of candy.

Come on, who wouldn't love that?


Just think, Jackie, here, in D.C.

This is where she grew up.

When we're famous dancers, we won't forget about the little people.


Miss Palmer, you first performed with the famous Jackie Sanchez when you were a student at the Anna Hart School, correct?

Why, yes. We became best friends, and danced together for years afterwards with the New York City Ballet.

With my little sister Isabelle, of course.


Iz, imagine if it really happens.

Us dancing with our idol.

Come on, let's practice.

We need to be in top form before the auditions!

Uh, that's okay.

Come on, how come you never want to practice together anymore?

I'm just a little tired right now.


Ah! There you are, sleepy head.

Come on and sit down. We have a lot to do today.

Your sister's been up for hours.

Of course she has. [CHUCKLES]


So, you guys excited to see your old dad's band play in Uncle Davi's backyard barbecue today?

We're debuting a special song.

What's the new song?

Oh, no, it's a secret.

You'll just have to wait for the backyard barbecue.

NANCY: I love watching you perform.

Hospital administrator on the weekdays, and rock star on the weekends.

It's like having a super hero for a husband.

Super Dad!


Whoa. Look how the sun is making the water lilies sparkle!

JADE: Totally.

They look just like the real ones we saw at the Aquatic Gardens at Kenilworth Park last year.

That's what inspired me.

I thought that the flowers looked like little jewels floating in a sea of blue.

Then you came home and locked yourself up in here for weeks.

And then, voila. Pond Dreams.


But it was worth having to order pizza for dinner for a while.


Your mother does tend to go hardcore when she's working on an important project.

Speaking of important projects, I have got to finish your costume for the Halloween Benefit.

It's gonna be the best one.

Because you are the most genius costumer in the history of the Smithsonian.


I actually restore antique textiles at the Smithsonian, Isabelle, but thank you very much.

Actually, with this particular costume, I was hoping you'd design it with me.

Are you in?


That's good! I want to go to the Thornton Landing flea market this morning, before the barbecue, and see if we can find some really good stuff for your costume.

That's a great idea!

How is it that you two are both sewing geniuses and I can't even thread a needle?

Oh, please, you're good at everything else!

Am not. Are, too.

Am not. Are, too.

Am not! Are, too!

[BOTH YELLING] Okay. Okay!

I think it's time you got going. [ALL LAUGHING]

We have to rehearse before the barbecue. Yes.

First person to help me load my drums into the car gets to have control of the TV for the rest of the week.

JADE: I totally got this.

Go! Go, go, go, go! Wait, wait, wait.

Hey, wait for me!


I can't wait to hear Dad's new song.

I wonder why he was being so mysterious about it.

I know.

Speaking of mysterious, I'm very curious about one of your flea market finds.

What are you planning to do with this thing that I use to organize my cords behind my desk?

Well, I thought I could maybe use it as a tail for my cat costume for the Halloween Benefit.

Ah, that is a great idea. I would've never thought of that.

You have such a great eye, sweetie. Thanks.

Hey, look. There's Dad.

Looks like my dad's about to start the set.


Hello. Welcome, everyone.

Are you all ready to dance?

Yeah. Yeah.

I said, are you all ready to dance?

ALL: Yeah!

Okay, let's go. Davi, Davi. [CLEARS THROAT]

Hey, everybody, thanks for coming.

I'd like to dedicate this first number to my beautiful wife.

I guess this is the secret song.

She was inspired by a lily pond that she saw to create this wonderful piece of art.

And I was inspired by that wonderful piece of art to write this song.

I call it Lily Pond Dreams. Honey, this one's for you. [GIGGLING]

One, two, three, four.




[SINGING] ♪ My sweet pond dreams ♪ ♪ My perfect water lily ♪

♪ You inspire me With sweet serenity ♪

♪ Life is beautiful Sparkling in the water ♪

♪ Crystal blue ♪



I don't know about you, but I think this song is perfect for...

The BFF Jam! The BFF Jam!


♪ When you smile When you shine ♪

♪ You're a work, of art ♪

♪ Masterpiece, Underneath colors of your heart ♪ Go, Izzie!

♪ Make a wish Close your eyes ♪

♪ And the painting, comes to life ♪

♪ We could be floating free ♪

♪ Forever you and me ♪

♪ In pond dreams ♪

♪ In pond dreams ♪




There's Isabelle.

The Halloween Hospital Benefit is about translating the joy of dance to some people who really need a little joy in their lives.

Good luck, everybody. To the stars!

Oh, Luisa, wait.


I'm okay. Really?

You look nervous.


Did you hear what she just said?

She's trying to psych me out.

Iz, you're a great dancer, and the costume you helped your mom make is the coolest one here.

Just like all the clothes you make.


Look! It's Jackie Sanchez!

It is. Wow, she's so elegant.

But wait, what is she doing here?

I don't know, but we're about to perform in front of a real, bona fide star!

Shh! Don't talk about it. You're making me even more nervous.


Here we go, good luck. Thanks.





Excuse me.

May I have your autograph?

You want my autograph?

I mean, I messed up a few times.

I didn't notice. You were so good.

I loved how you looked just like a cat when you danced.

Can you do it again?




I wish I could dance like you.

You may not be able to dance exactly like me, but you definitely can dance.

Here, give me your arms.

That's a port de bras. That's one of the core moves of ballet.

Every dancer has to master it.

Am I doing it right?





Here you go.

Thank you.

You're welcome.

Bye. Bye.

Ms. Sanchez!

Hello! It's nice to meet you.

It's nice to meet you, too.

I mean, more than nice, amazing.

And what's your name?

Oh, right. Isabelle. Isabelle Palmer.

You can call me Izzie, or Iz or Isabelle.

Isabelle Palmer, it's very nice to meet you, too.

Good job today.

I loved that big smile you wore the moment the music started.

You danced with joy.


I hope to see you at 'The Nutcracker' auditions next week.

You will.

It's amazing to meet you.

[CHUCKLES] You said that already.


See you next week.



That was perfect, just like always.

I wouldn't say always. We all make mistakes.

I do. You don't.

In school, in dance, in anything.

That's not true.

Today we had a pop quiz in algebra, and I totally flubbed a really easy question.

[SCOFFS] One question?

So you got, what, 98% instead of 100?

Oh, please, I'd love to have your problems.


Enough about who makes more mistakes.

Did you really get to meet Jackie Sanchez? And was she nice?

I totally did and she totally was!

You are so lucky! I hope she's that nice to me in the auditions.

She will be. Especially when she sees what a great dancer you are.

Well, my dancing won't be too great if I don't keep practicing.

But you've been practicing for hours.

I know. And I'm going to keep practicing.

It's just like with your sewing.

You're great at it because you work so hard on it.

No one's just gonna give me a spot in The Nutcracker.

If I want it, I have to be perfect at the audition.


Next group, please. Come on.


JACKIE: Lovely.

Thank you, everybody.

Number 29, just a minute.

What's your name, love?

Jade Palmer.

Jade Palmer. Good job today.

Did he really just single out Jade in the middle of auditions?

That, like, never happens.

You did great.

Thanks. And good luck.


MR. KOSLOFF: All right, moving on. Front and center, please.

Let's take it from the top.


MR. KOSLOFF: Ready? Five, six, seven, eight.




All right, thank you, everybody.

You'll hear tomorrow.

WOMAN: Let's move out, ladies. [SCOFFS]

Oh! Whoa! Whoa, whoa!

Calm down, everyone. You'll all get a chance to see.

Aren't you gonna go check the list?

What's the point? I stunk in my audition.

Yes! I got three parts!

One of the child party guests, a snowflake and one of the mice!

EMMA: You rock, Renata.

I have to call my mom and dad.

They told me to call them the minute I found out.

They'll be so excited. They're so supportive.

And they always say that they're my biggest fans.

At least I won't have to spend all that time in rehearsals with Renata.


I'm gonna go check.

She got in.


Told ya.

I can't believe we get to dance with Jackie Sanchez!

What do you mean "we"?

I got Clara, and you got a child party guest, a tin soldier and one of the snowflakes.

You get to dance in three scenes!

I can't believe it! [LAUGHS]

You did it. Congratulations, Izzie.

But wait, I don't get it.

My audition was terrible.

And Jackie saw me totally screw up at the Halloween Benefit.

Obviously Jackie and the director thought you were good enough to be in the show.


I don't know.

Maybe being in the show isn't such a good idea.

Maybe I should go talk to Ms. Hawken.

Are you seriously saying that you might not do the show?

Congratulations to all of you who were cast in The Nutcracker.

Now to add to the excitement, those of you who are cast are eligible for admittance to the New York City Ballet's School of American Ballet Summer Intensive Program.

Four students will be chosen by the director and by none other than Jackie Sanchez herself.


One student each will come from the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grades, and it will be quite an honor to be chosen.

The New York City Ballet, of course, is one of the finest ballet companies in the world.

And the School of American Ballet's Summer Program is just as excellent and very, very difficult to get into.

So good luck.

Now you can't drop out of The Nutcracker.

Oh, no, Isabelle! You're thinking of dropping out?

I guess that's probably for the best.

It'll give you more time to practice.


Looks like that fourth grade spot is mine.

I wouldn't be so sure about that, Renata.

What did you say?

I'm going to win that fourth grade spot.

Oh, yeah? We'll see about that.

That was awesome.

I can't believe I just said that.

She won't last a week. [BOTH CHUCKLE]

RENATA: And by the way, Isabelle, nice jacket.

LUISA: That's telling her, Izzie.

JADE: It's fine. We're gonna have so much fun in this show together.

Just think of us dancing with Jackie Sanchez.

There we go.

I think it's ready to go on display at the American History Museum.


Why did I have to make such a big deal about how I was going to beat Renata for the summer program?

Oh, sweetie, you should not be worrying about the summer program.

You should just be focusing on doing well in The Nutcracker.

All I've ever wanted to do is get to study at the School of American Ballet in New York City.

And now Renata can ruin that.

She's so gonna have it in for me when rehearsals start.

Well, honey, your sister Jade's gonna be there, and the two of you can support each other.

Jade doesn't need my help.

She's the one everyone's always comparing me to.

It's like I'm stuck in her shadow or something.

Sweetie, you're not in anyone's shadow unless you put yourself there.

You just need to focus on being the best Isabelle that you can be.

That's easier said than done. I know, I know.

Just keep working hard like always.

And do your best every single day.

Your best.

Don't think about how well Jade is doing.

And definitely do not let this girl Renata get under your skin.



Deal. Good.

Now, I have got a surprise for you.

I have been hired by the ballet company to design all the costumes for The Nutcracker.

What? That's awesome!

I know, it is. But it's also a lot of work.

Because besides designing all the costumes, I've also agreed to make Jade's Clara outfit.

So I think I'm gonna need some help.

That would be incredible.

I've got so many design ideas.

Good. Well, I look forward to your expert opinions.


MR. KOSLOFF: Congratulations, you made it. And therefore, welcome.

As you can see, I've invited Jackie to join us today, and I know that you are much more excited about working with her than you are with me.


Right. Ballet.

An art form that first appeared in the royal courts of the Italian Renaissance.

It's brought us such artists as George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Anna Pavlova.

And now, all of you are joining us in this grand tradition.

It should be considered not only an honor, but a responsibility.

And as such, I'm going to be asking a lot of you over the next six weeks.

It will be intense, so I need you to eat, sleep and breathe ballet.

Ballet requires practice, and a lot of it.

It requires dedication, and above all, sacrifice.

I don't care if you are the most naturally talented dancer in this room.

None of that will matter unless you work at it.


ALL: Yes.

Now that we've scared you, [ALL LAUGH]

Mr. Kosloff and I wanna remind you that this is also supposed to be a lot of fun.

The reason we do this is because dancing brings us great joy and allows us to bring joy to the audience.

Am I right? ALL: Yes.

Good. We are starting with the party scene, right?

Yes, the party scene. Let me set the stage for you.

It is Christmas Eve.

And the party guests are all having fun.

Smiling. There we go.

You look like a good little party guest.

Come with me. Come hither, young lady.

There we go. All right? And we're smiling.

Having fun, yes? Party, party, party.

And then, the magical and mysterious godfather Drosselmeyer appears.

Voila! [ALL LAUGH]

Here he is.

And he brings a beautiful present for Clara.

It's a beautiful nutcracker.


Now, Clara's younger, mischievous brother takes a fancy to said nutcracker, and they start fighting for it.

Back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth.

And all of a sudden, Fritz drops the nutcracker and breaks it!


And Clara is absolutely dismayed.

Right? Are you ready to learn the sequence? ALL: Yes.

All right. Now, Jade, I expect you to nail the steps very quickly.

We're on a tight timeframe here.

Okay? Yeah.

All right. Let me have a quick chat with Drosselmeyer.

Get warmed up and then we'll start.

Ms. Sanchez, hi, I'm Renata. Pleasure to meet you, Renata.

I just wanted to say what a huge honor it is dancing with you.

Well, that's nice to hear. Thank you.

All of us at Anna Hart feel that way.

And it's so great to join a new family of dancers, since we already feel like one big family ourselves.

That's sweet.



Nice, Isabelle. Really looks like you are having fun.

No, Isabelle, you can do better than that. Try again.

Can you believe her?

No. Isabelle, please.






Yes, Jade. That's exactly why I cast you.


Go again.


Isabelle, you should know this by now. Could you show her, please?

Let's try it again. Show me on your own.

Yes. I knew you could get it. Well done, Isabelle.

All right. Moving on.

Next is the battle sequence.

Can I have my tin and mice soldiers front and center, please?

In this scene, the Mouse King and the mouse soldiers are trying to defeat the Nutcracker Prince and his tin soldiers.

So I really need to see passion as you battle it out.

And the other thing I absolutely require is that each and every one of you dance in perfect unison with the dancers I've paired you up with. Understood?

All right. Let's try it again, please.


Isabelle, please keep up.


All right, stop. Stop the music. Please, everyone.

Isabelle, what on earth is going on?

Nothing, I just...

Isabelle sometimes has trouble keeping the beat.

But don't worry. I'll work on it with her.

All right. Thank you, Renata. That's very kind of you.

Let's try this again, shall we?



NANCY: So, girls, what do you think of the costumes so far?

JADE: Are you kidding? They're amazing! LUISA: Yeah, they're so cool, it almost makes me want to be a ballet dancer!


Well, thank you both so much for your help today.

I really appreciate you coming out to help sew costumes on your day off.

Why don't you guys wait here and I'll go get the car?

Okay. Okay.

Okay. Okay.

Thanks for hanging out today. It was fun. Totally.


Oh, great.

What are you doing here on a Sunday?

Not that it's any of your business, but I was helping my mom out with the costumes.

Well, I'm here to practice. My parents hired a dance coach for me to go over my choreography for The Nutcracker.

They're the best.

Well, if that's what you have to do to get ahead, then fine.


I'm sure Jackie Sanchez will be really impressed when I tell her tomorrow.

You haven't forgotten that tomorrow is when we start rehearsing with the adult dancers?

Of course, I haven't.

Well, I plan to dazzle them.

All of the other dancers, especially Jackie, will be telling Mr. Kosloff that he has to pick me for the fourth grade spot in the summer program.

See you tomorrow.

If she impresses Jackie, I can kiss the summer program goodbye.


This is it!

Our first time dancing with the real Capital Ballet Theatre dancers!

I'm nervous. You're nervous?

What do you have to be nervous about? You know you'll do great.



MR. KOSLOFF: So, Clara has just saved the Nutcracker Prince in the battle between the mice and the tin soldiers.

And the snowflakes welcome Clara on her way to the Land of Snow, on their way to the Land of Sweets.

Now, this adventure is the Prince's way of rewarding Clara for saving his life.

So I need this to be joyous, and you need to dance as light as snowflakes.

Yes? All right. Circle.

Ready? Five, six, seven, eight.


Light and fluffy like snowflakes.

Come on, Isabelle, keep up. I am keeping up.

[SNICKERS] Could've fooled me.

Maybe you're the one who could use some extra practice.



Why don't you just leave my sister alone?

I didn't do anything. You did, and you know it.

Is there a problem, ladies?

No. Everything's fine.


Isabelle, are you okay? I'm fine.

I can take care of myself.

I don't know why you were acting like such a weirdo today at rehearsal.

I was just trying to help.

I know, but I don't always need your help, okay?

Fine. I'll remember that.

I get nervous during rehearsal, too.

You don't have to say that just to make me feel better.

That's not what I was saying. Never mind.

Listen, I think I might know something that could help you when you're feeling nervous, like you might mess up.

It helps me when I dance, and it even helps me get through some tough algebra tests.

Do you want to hear it?


Okay, so I've noticed at practice that you sometimes get off beat.

You didn't have that problem before.

So there must be something in your head that's making you nervous and hurting your concentration.

Well, if Renata's bothering me or I start to worry that everyone else is better than I am, I get off the beat and start to mess up the steps.

You need to forget where you are and what you're doing.

What do you mean?

Last year in intermediate modern dance class, we learned about visualization.

Instead of just focusing on steps and counts, I think of each dance as a series of images in my head.

Like, oh, when I do a plie, I imagine myself sitting on a balloon.

As the air goes out, I go lower, and as the air goes in, I go higher.

Or, oh, do you remember that gypsy dance I did last year?

Of course! That was amazing.

Well, I visualized I was a firefly.

Here. I'll do some.



I feel like I'm transported inside the image in my head.

My mind goes free and I just dance.

I don't know what happened. I used to feel like that, too, when I danced.


Can you think of anything that you can visualize to help you clear your mind?

Do you really think this will help me, Jade?

It's worth a try.

But you just need to pick the right visualization to make it work, okay?

[BELL RINGS] Mmm-hmm.

All right. Well, I've got to get to class. But I'll see you later.

Bye. Bye.


That's the perfect thing.


Come on, people.

We really need to nail this snowflake sequence down.

Sound like hailstones right now.

Renata, smile, please.

Executing the moves isn't enough, darling. You need to sparkle.

Come on, Isabelle, keep up.

JADE: Don't panic. Visualize the water lilies.


MR. KOSLOFF: Isabelle, keep up.


JADE: Come on. Stay focused.

MR. KOSLOFF: Isabelle, please.

ISABELLE: It's not working!


All right, everybody.

Looks like some of us could use a 15-minute break.

Get some water, please.

Hey, Danielle.

So after practice, my parents are taking me out for dinner and ice skating.

Maybe you guys can meet us there. Sure.

But maybe we should invite Isabelle.

No, she probably needs to practice instead.

Come on. This is gonna be fun.

DANIELLE: So where are you going to dinner with your parents?

RENATA: Well, there is an Italian restaurant...


Why can't I get it?

Working on the snowflake choreography?

Yeah. I just can't get the timing right, and I keep messing up the pirouette at the end.

I know the steps. Let's try it together.

With you?


I don't see anyone else here.

Just relax, don't think too much about it.

I'll try.

Jade taught me this visualization technique that's supposed to help with that.

But I just tried it and it didn't work.

Maybe there were too many distractions.

Right now it's just you and me and the dance floor.

Let's give it a go.

Five, six, seven, eight.



Let's go again.

And this time, don't worry about whether or not you're going to mess up while you're doing it. Just use that visualization technique.



Five, six, seven, eight.

Yes! That's it!

Look at you.

There's that spark and passion I saw in you at the Halloween Benefit.

That felt amazing. I'll bet.

I want to see you dance like that in rehearsal.



ISABELLE: It was so great.

Jackie helped me and the visualization worked!

That's fantastic, Iz.

Now you're one step closer to getting into the summer program.

Just think, an entire summer of ballet in New York City with some of the best teachers in the world.

I can't even think of anything else I'd rather do.

Okay, I'm finally done. You guys ready to go?

Yeah. Okay, let's go. All right.

RENATA: But, Mom, you've already canceled on me twice!

You never cancel on Ben. [SOBBING]

Well, I just wanted to do something special with you guys.

That's what you said last time.

Okay, yes, I understand.

I'll just stay inside with Mr. Kosloff until you get here.

Sweetie, why don't you go ask Renata if she needs a ride home?

Go on. It'll be all right. Okay.

I'll watch your stuff.

What is it?

Well, if you're going to have to wait here awhile, my mom can give you a ride.

I don't need a ride or anything else from you.

Geez, I was just trying to be nice.

Well, maybe you should stop trying to be nice and start trying to dance the snowflake dance better.

Or you might just find yourself getting kicked out of The Nutcracker.

Oh, yeah? Well, I have the choreography down now.

Jackie helped me. So I'm going to be just fine.


Sweetie, at least you tried. She must be having a bad day.

Whoa. I can't believe we're rehearsing on a real stage.

It's so big. I know.

MR. KOSLOFF: Snowflakes! Let's take it from the arabesque.

I got it.

Five, six, seven, eight.


Isabelle, beautiful. Thank you.

Okay. Everyone, take a break, please. Thank you.

You know...

You know, the dancers have mastered the moves, but there's something off about that snowflake dance.

The steps seem flat.

In all honesty, I wish I could change the choreography, you know, give them that showcase moment, but I don't think I can do that to the kids this close to opening night.

Excuse me, Mr. Kosloff.

Yes? Don't worry about us!

Everyone's got the dance down now.

You could even add some tougher steps.


Maybe a few more pirouettes or something.

We may be kids, but we can handle new steps.

We're professional dancers now.

Yes, you are.

Well, in that case, maybe I will put in something a little bit more challenging.


Let's go into the rehearsal studio and have another listen.


LEO: Look at you go.

Use those little ballerina muscles, huh? [LAUGHING]

Look at how these turned out.


Is there any cookie under there, Dad?


Girls... Ah...

...your mother and I have a special little something for you...

Mmm-hmm. celebrate our two ballerinas dancing in their first professional production.

Go on, go on, open it.



It's a real nutcracker!

Thank you. This is so cool.

"Hello. My name is Mr. Nutcracker."


You are so weird. Hey!

Maybe I should bring this to school and show my friends.

Yeah, that's a great idea.

Speaking of which, how was school this week?

Well, I got an A on my science project.

That's nothing new.

And since I got to dance with Jackie, things have been so much better at rehearsals!

That's great, kiddo.



I could have gotten a C. NANCY: What's that, honey?


Isabelle, we are so proud of you, honey.

Oh, my gosh! So tell me what happened.

How did rehearsal turn around like that?

ISABELLE: Well, since I was having problems with the turning section, she went over it with me..., eight.


Look, this is the moment that Clara finds out that she's been shrunk to the size of her beloved nutcracker.

It's got to feel fluid and graceful and dream-like.

Go again, please.

No! You don't get to make mistakes like that, Jade.

You're one of the leads of this show. I expect more from you.

I'll get it. Good.


Yes! That's my star! Okay, remember that feeling. Practice it.

All right. Moving on. Could I have my snowflakes?

Anybody playing snowflakes, gather around, please. Thank you.

Okay, listen. I'm terribly sorry to have to do this, especially as it's only two weeks from opening night.

However, I need to change the choreography.

What we were doing was just not working.

Now, don't worry, ladies. I know you'll get it.

After all, you are professional dancers now, yes?

So, it is a turning sequence. Please.

And here it is, okay? Five, six, seven, eight.

Pique, pique, chaine, chaine, ending in a double pirouette.

There you go. Very nice. Thank you.

All right, we'll be back here in five minutes to start working on it.

Off you go!



What is it?

I don't know what I'm going to do.

I just got the old choreography down.

Just use your visualization again.

I've seen you land lots of doubles before.

You did a bunch of them at Uncle Davi's.

That was in a backyard! It's different now!

It's not any different. This is all in your head.

But now with the pique and chaine turns leading up to it, I don't know if I'll be able to land the double pirouette.

I'm worried that I'm going to be so worried that I'll mess up!

That's a lot of worrying. You'll be fine.




JACKIE: Coming downstage will make my entrance more dramatic.

Well, sometimes a change-up can help. Exactly.

Like the new snowflake choreography.

It really seems to be working. Hmm.

The kids are nailing it.

Sofia's arabesque is higher. And Julia's sissonnes are much sharper.

Yeah. And have you seen Renata?

If she keeps landing doubles like that, she might just get the fourth grade spot in the summer program.

But unfortunately, not everyone is nailing the new choreography.

You mean Isabelle? Yeah.

It's such a shame because her dancing is so wonderful to watch.

When she's confident with what she's doing, no one outshines her.

And yet she's struggling.

She really needs to master the new turning sequence.

Everyone else has got it.

And if she can't, I might have to consider cutting her from the number.

JACKIE: But she's working hard. She'll get it. Give her time.

MR. KOSLOFF: Yeah, but we don't have time.

And it's my responsibility to do what's best for the show.

JACKIE: I know. You're right.

Sweetie, hey, it's getting kind of late. I know.

But I have regular homework to do on top of everything else.

Well, I think it's great that you're keeping up with all of it.

And I love all the design work you've done on 'The Nutcracker' costumes.

Now, you need to go to bed soon, though, okay?



You know, sometimes sleeping on it helps a lot with our worries.

Okay. Thanks, Mom.




RENATA: Come on, Isabelle, keep up!






ISABELLE: I had this crazy nightmare about the show last night.

Jade was in it, and Renata was dressed as the Mouse King, and she was coming after me and...

LUISA: Isabelle! Don't get so worked up!

It was a dream.

In Brazil, we have an expression about dreams.


What does it mean?

They're not real. [BOTH LAUGH]

Okay, you got me there.


The show is happening so soon.

I don't know if I'm ready. I still need to work on my turns.

Enough. You know what your problem is?

You've forgotten that you're a really good dancer.

No, I haven't. Yes, you have!

When you really let yourself go, no one dances better than you.

And I can't believe you are going to let some mean girl make you forget about that.

Do you really want Renata to have that kind of power over you?

I don't know. Come on.


They've got a good beat going. Yeah.

It's time for the BFF Jam! I don't know.

Oh, come on. Let's give everyone at this school, including Renata, a chance to see the Isabelle that I know.

The Isabelle that can dance.

Come on. It'll be fun. All right.

I'm not sure if this is a good idea.

Come on! Come on!

Five, six, seven, eight.


Keep going.


Top that.


Oh, my gosh! I know.

That's all? Seriously?

You got this, Izzie!

[CHANTING] STUDENTS: Go, Izzie! Go, Izzie! Go, Izzie! Go, Izzie!

You top that.

Come on!

Oh, topped.



LUISA: You were awesome!

That was so amazing! Thanks.

Renata, in Portuguese, we call that getting served.


JADE: I can't believe it. That was so much fun.

LUISA & JADE: We loved it. Thanks.

You're a good dancer, Isabelle. Thanks. You, too.

No hard feelings?

Yeah, you really nailed the art of dancing on a table in the cafeteria.

Too bad they don't offer that here at Anna Hart instead of ballet.

'Cause you're really not very good at that.

And how many times did you audition to get into this school?


Lucky for you, your sister is such a star.

Anna Hart only let you in because they give preference to younger siblings.

And everyone knows you only got into The Nutcracker as a favor to Jade, too.

It's the only explanation.

You totally screwed up your audition just like you're going to screw up the show.

Renata, that's enough!

Is that true?


Is that what you guys really think?

You know I don't.


You leave my sister alone or you'll have me to answer to.


Isabelle, wait!

Come on, let's go.


I ran after you the whole way home from the bus stop.

You are fast.

Look, don't listen to Renata...

Go away!

Renata is a total jerk.

Not Renata.

It's you. You're my problem!


I'm never going to be as good as you are.

You're Little Miss Perfect, and I'm sick of it.

I'm sick of being in your shadow.

You're not in my shadow.

I'm gonna drop out of the show.

No! And I want to go back to my old school where I'm not "Jade's little sister."

You know what, Isabelle?

It's always about how you feel, isn't it?

Have you ever even thought about how I might feel?

No, of course you haven't.

But I can't complain about my problems 'cause I'm supposed to be perfect.

My room is always clean. My grades are all A's.

And I don't mess up when I dance.

No one ever thinks that I might need encouragement.

Am I supposed to feel sorry for you because everything is too easy for you?


Who says it's easy? It's not. I feel a lot of pressure.

Sometimes I just want to scream.

But I know that no matter how loud I scream, no one would hear me.

How could they? They're all too busy listening to you.

Don't blame me for your problems.

Then stop blaming me for yours!

How could I, when just having you as my sister makes everything even harder?


JADE: Great.

That was my nutcracker, too.

And you know what?

Maybe you should drop out of the show and Anna Hart.

Because ballet isn't for quitters.


Wow, I know Isabelle likes to sleep in, but this is late, even for her.

Oh, I hope she's okay. This is a big week for her.

She needs support from all of us right now.

Don't worry.

I have nothing better to do than worry about Isabelle and all her problems.

Whoa, whoa, whoa!

What does that mean?

It's just...

Everyone in this family worries about Isabelle and her problems all the time.

And then there's me.

There's you, what?

Well, I'm always up on time... Yes, you are.

My homework is done, my room is clean. Mmm-hmm.


I practice ballet all the time.

Yes, you do practice. You practice very hard.

And I study really, really hard to get all A's. Mmm-hmm.

That's true.

So how come it's like I'm invisible around here?

Is that really how you feel?


Sweetie, give me your hand.

We do not expect you to be perfect.

We expect you to be you.

And I don't know, maybe we don't focus enough on all of your accomplishments.

But that's because, as wonderful as they all are, they don't mean anything to us if you're not happy.

Are you happy?

Lately it just feels like a lot of pressure, and I'm scared to mess up.

Jade, we all mess up. You should never be afraid of that.

You know why I love my job?

Because the hours are good and you can spend time with us?


I like spending time with you. Yeah, I love that.

But also, because I spend my time fixing antique textiles that are very, very, very old.

And they're hand-made and full of flaws and mess-ups.

That they're imperfect.

But I don't fix those flaws because that is what makes the textiles authentic.

Sweetie, it's our flaws, it's our mess-ups and our mistakes that give us our texture.

And you don't have to be perfect all the time.

Just be you.

Does any of that make sense?


Makes a lot of sense.

Thanks, Mom.

NANCY: You're welcome, honey.

Is there something else?

It's just Isabelle and I got into a really big fight last night.


It's time to get up.

You are gonna be late for school.

I don't feel very well today, Mom.



You don't have a fever, honey. I know.

I just feel kind of blah.

It seems like maybe you need to rest.

I'm gonna work from home today, so if you feel like talking...

That's okay. I just wanna sleep for a bit.


Well, I'm here if you need anything. Thanks.

Love you.

Love you, too.

RENATA: Good morning, Jackie. Good morning.

Hi. How are you?


Where's Isabelle?

She didn't say she was going to be late today.

Is everything okay?


Actually, no.

Isabelle decided to drop out of the show.

What? Why?

She doesn't think she's good enough.

And I don't know if there's any way to convince her that she is.

We'll see about that.


Come in.

You have a visitor.

A visitor?


I can't believe you're in my living room!

What are you doing here?

A little birdie named Jade told me you might be dropping out of the show.

Is that true?


I don't know.

I know that Mr. Kosloff only let me in the show because of my sister.

That's not true.

He let you in because of me.

What do you mean?

You have a special connection with people when you dance.

And that comes from having a generous spirit.

That day at the Halloween Benefit, I saw that little girl ask you for your autograph.

You did? Your dancing inspired her.

And being able to inspire people when we dance is just as important as being technically flawless.

You know, when I was your age, the other kids in ballet class used to call me Slippery Sanchez because I was so clumsy.

You? No way!


Yes way.

I couldn't stop wondering what I was going to have to do next.

Well, how did you stop feeling that way?

I had help.

You see, I didn't just come to the hospital benefit to see your class perform.

I was there visiting my grandmother.

Because she's the one who boosted my confidence when dancing was tough early on.

And I want to pay forward what she did for me to you.

That's why I'm here.

And the rest is up to you.

What do you mean?

I can't force you to stay in the show.

You have to want it.

I do want it.

I mean, I did.

I love dancing.

I don't know.

Isabelle, ballet is hard.

It's sore feet and tired muscles and hours and hours of practice.

There will always be other dancers who are better, stronger and faster than you.

But if you love dance as much as you say you do, then that won't matter to you.

But it seems like it does.

Now, I've got to get back to rehearsal.

Think about what I said, okay?

Dancing does matter to me.

A lot.

When I dance, I feel amazing.

It's like my whole body's tingling, from the very tip of my pinky toe to the top of my head.

But now I keep waiting for that feeling to happen, but it's not happening.

How do I get it back?

How do I start believing in myself again?

You work harder, for a start.

Practice those turns over and over again, no matter how many times you fail at it.

Do whatever it takes.

That's the kind of dedication that's going to get you into the summer program.

If that's something you're willing to do, I look forward to seeing you at practice tonight.

If Isabelle doesn't show up, we're gonna have to recast her.

I cannot have dancers missing rehearsals this close to opening night.

ISABELLE: Wait! I'm here!


I'm really happy to see you, Isabelle.

Thanks for coming to talk to me.

You really helped.

And I'm going to do it. I'll work my butt off, whatever it takes.


So, assuming as though everybody is actually here now, maybe we could have a warm-up in five minutes.


At least an understudy would have been able to land a double pirouette.

You know, Renata, you can think whatever you want about me, because it doesn't bother me anymore.

I know that I'm going to do the best I possibly can.

Well, goody for you.

Because your best wouldn't have gotten you into Anna Hart without your sister.

Honestly, I don't really know how I got into Anna Hart.

What I do know is that I'm here and that's all that really matters.

I'm a good dancer.

And I'm going to work as hard as I can to become an even better dancer.

Nothing you or anyone else says can make me feel bad anymore.

I'm doing this show for me.

To prove to myself that I can do this.

And that's exactly what I'm going to do.

So excuse me while I go kick some butt on the dance floor.


And I'll be sure to send you a postcard this summer from New York.

So, in the history of sister fights, that one might have ranked as one of the worst.

I don't know.

I'm still pretty mad at you for cutting the hair off all my dolls when you were five.

I'd like to think I was giving them makeovers.

A makeover to one of them would have been okay.

But all of them?

Hey, I like to finish what I start. [LAUGHS]

So I guess it's a good thing I came back instead of giving up on the show.

I'm glad you did.

Jade, I'm really sorry.

I was so into my own problems, I didn't realize you were having some yourself.

You know, you don't always have to be perfect.

Especially around me.


And you know, you're awesome, too.

Not just because you're my little sister, because you're you.


Well, the next time you feel like you need to scream, I promise to shut up so you can be heard.


Now I've got a lot of work to do if I want to make the summer program.

You mean "we" have a lot of work to do.

You? Miss Perfect? Please! You're a shoe-in.


But seriously, I could use your help.

You are one of the best dancers I know.

Sounds good.



Jade is going to love this costume, sweetie.

Remember, keep your shoulders down.




NANCY: The pink ribbon was such a great idea of yours.

ISABELLE: It's perfect.

JADE: You just need to get back to the place where you were when you were turning in the cafeteria.

Those were such good turns, okay?

Just relax.

Try again and use your visualization.

That was so much better.


Am I ever going to be able to do this? [LAUGHING]


Hey. Good morning, sleepy head.

I'm not used to seeing you up this early. What are you doing?

I just thought I could get a little more practice in before the show tonight.


You're a little worried, huh?

Oh, no, only that I'll mess up, completely embarrass myself and then find out I didn't get into the summer program.


But seriously, I'm worried I'm gonna fall out of my turns during the show.


I want to get into the summer program so badly.

I've never wanted anything more in my whole life!

I know.

But what if I don't get in?

What if Renata beats me?

You know what, honey.

I don't think you can think about that.

The important thing is that you have worked as hard as you could.

And tonight you're gonna do the best you can in the show.

And we all know how hard you've worked, because it shows.

Nobody can take that work away from you. No one.

Not even Renata.


How about I make you some breakfast?

Sounds good.


I'll let you know when it's ready.

Okay. I'm just going to practice a little bit more.

All right, honey.

MAN: Curtain in 15 minutes, everyone.

Look, it's Lucy!

There's so many people.

So, how are we?

Good. Fine.

I know you're going to do great.


Okay, see you out there.

Look! It's Mom and Dad.

Come on, let's go get warmed up. Okay.



My costume!

Great. This is just what I need right now.

We should help her, right?

We are all in this together.


Can you go to the costume studio, get a needle and some purple thread?


I could fix that for you if you'd like.

Really? Why would you do that?

You mean because you hate me? [CHUCKLES]

I don't know. I'm just as surprised as you are.

I mean, we're all a family here, right?

And I guess being good to each other no matter what is what the holidays are all about.

Well, thanks.

You know, Isabelle, I don't hate you.

You could have fooled me.

Here you go. Thanks.

Is everything okay? It will be.

You finish getting ready.

I've got this covered.

You and your sister, you guys look so close.

Your whole family does.

Well, your family sounds great.

I mean, you always talk about all the cool things you guys do together.

Yeah. Well, the problem is...

None of that is really true.

My parents didn't even bother to show up tonight.

They didn't?

I don't know why I'm surprised.

My older brother, Ben, had a football game tonight.

They can't miss anything the golden boy does.

They don't understand ballet at all.

Football? They totally get that.

Maybe you should tell your parents how you feel.


But I don't know if it'll matter.

And, I mean, what would I even say?

I don't know.

I mean, you never have any trouble speaking up with me!

There. Good as new.

Wow. A one-of-a-kind Isabelle creation. It looks great.

Just like your clothes.

The clothes you always make fun of?

I'm trying to say thanks.


You're welcome.

Isabelle, wait.

You really are a good dancer.


All right, everybody. 5 minutes to curtain. 5 minutes, okay. Yes!

And there's Jade.







You okay? Yeah.

No. I'm nervous.

All I can think about is whether I'm going to land those turns or not.

Iz, you've been practicing like crazy.

You're beyond prepared.

Go out there and nail it.

I know you can do it.




You can do it.

Come on, Isabelle.





Go, Izzie!


I can't believe we're watching Jackie dance right in front of us.

I know. She's so amazing.

And so were you. Awesome double.




Ugh! Why does Ms. Hawken always have to take so long with the lists?

And this is one I actually want to see!

I want to know if I got in the New York City Ballet Summer Program or not.

I know. I'm nervous, too.

DANIELLE: Hey, Isabelle.

A bunch of us are going out for ice cream later to either celebrate or drown our sorrows.

Wanna come?

Yeah, sure. I'd love to!

Great! See you later.

Looks like someone's finally fitting in at Anna Hart.



There she is!

This is the list of the students accepted to the School of American Ballet Summer Program.

Some of you are going to be disappointed, but just remember, you all did a fantastic job at the performance.

Did she look at me when she said some of us will be disappointed?

No! You're being paranoid.

MS. HAWKEN: Have at it, kids.


Can you see it, Jade? Not at all!

Well, it looks like I won't be going to New York this summer.

Sorry, Renata.

I'm actually cool with it.

You are?

I followed your advice, Isabelle.

I told my parents that I was sad that we didn't spend a lot of time together.

Good for you.

They said they were going to plan a big family vacation for this summer.

So as bummed as I am that I didn't get in the program, at least I get to be with my family.

I'm really happy for you.

But wait, if you didn't get the fourth grade spot...

See for yourself.

You look for both of us.

I'm so nervous. I know.

I got in! And so did you!

What? No way!


I knew you'd get in.

I can't believe it! We're going to New York! Together!

Just like we've always dreamed!

I wouldn't want it any other way.

Me either.

RENATA: Hey, wait a minute.

You may get to go to New York, but I'm totally beating you out in the next Anna Hart production.

Oh, yeah? We'll see about that.


Hey, look. It's snowing!

Oh! Come on!

First we find out we're going to New York, and now it looks like we're going to have a white Christmas!

Things couldn't be more perfect.


Come on. Perfect's overrated.


But this sure is great.

It sure is.

Come on, let's go.