In search of her dreams

Laurel’s own Madelynn Hust enjoyed epic role
Outlook staff writer

Dancing since the age of three, Madellynn Hust had always dreamed of playing Clara in the Nutcracker Ballet. Every young dancer dreams at one time or another of winning the role of Clara. Clara is the young girl in the ballet who falls asleep and dreams of helping a nutcracker (who turns into a prince) defeat an evil mouse king.
The San Diego Dance Company production of the Nutcracker this year chose 14-year-old Hust, of Laurel, as their Clara for the Thanksgiving performances in Billings this year.
Every year, all around the world the Nutcracker Ballet is performed during the holidays. It’s a magical tale of faraway lands and Christmas lore that appeals to all ages. Clara falls asleep, and in a dreamland-state she helps a nutcracker turn into a prince to defeat an evil mouse king.
The tale is a dancing spectacle with sugar-sweet plums, princesses and visits to strange places. The characters sing throughout the story, until the end, when Clara wakes up, holding the nutcracker in her arms and realizes it was all a dream.
There is however an alternate ending. Clara and the prince/Nutcracker take each other’s hands and walk off into an unknown abyss. She leaves her life, her mother and everything behind in a heartbreaking stance of choosing to stay young forever, to never grow up. The endings are both subject to interpretation, but the fictitious Clara’s life is always left up to a ‘real’ girl, young and beautiful whose task it is to bring her to life.
Hust played the role of Clara that has captured the imagination of so many every December for so long.
“When you’re on stage, you don’t even notice the audience is there,” she said. “You act like the situation is real.”
And, for her it was very real, as she was able to live out the dream of every ballerina during those few performances.
Hust has been guided by a truly loving and supportive family in Laurel. Her mother, Raychel, drove her to practice almost every day in Billings in preparation for her performance in The Nutcracker. Rehearsal started in September and continued through November. Even though the production is over Hust’s mom is still tasked with driving her daughter to dance classes in Billings.
Hust attends Raiz Etina and MADCO, both dance companies in Billings; but her main focus goes to the School of Classical Ballet in Billings. She dances in a number of different styles, including Ballet-Pointe, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, Contemporary and Pointe.
The relationship between the mother daughter duo stretch the imagination, they are so close and loving. Their bond could be considered fantastic and magical, much like the premise of The Nutcracker, except that it’s a very real.
While it may seem that all Hust does is dance, that couldn’t be farther from the truth; she is, after all, a teenage girl. She loves choir in school because she likes to sing. She dances whenever she hears music; she can’t help it. Hust watches movies and reads books and carries almost a 4.0 grade point average in school.
Hust’s hobbies and choice of reading material seem almost as if they were pulled from some old fairy tale from long ago. She read “The Scarlet Stockings,” during her three-month training for The Nutcracker. The novel is about a teenage ballerina who comes across a pair of magical stockings.
“The events in the book, as I was reading started to resemble my real life,” she said. Truth often blurred the line with fiction for this particular teenage girl.
Magical stockings, a real girl, and Clara, a dreamer, all merge together providing kaleidoscope glimpses into a few months the life of the dedicated dancer, daughter and student..
“Being in a ballet is like an out-of-this world experience,” Hust said. “Being able to time travel into different dimensions; a real life dream.”
Her mother is as proud as can be. She can be found attached to her seat in the audience during every one of her daughter’s performances.
“Watching it and seeing she was really Clara,” said her mom, Raychel. “She played it so well. It felt like I was back in that era. She puts herself into it.”
Now with the role of Clara finished, Hust is back on schedule attending dance classes and going to school. She occasionally finds time to watch a movie with mom and she makes sure to enjoy being a teen.
“I love designing clothes,” she said. “I love making alterations to old dresses and costumes from the plays or studios. Like making a new tutu for an old dress or something; I just love that”
Although she played the fairy-tale role in real life, it’s likely Hust’s dreams are choreographed to the music of the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”


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