Nimmer, Hoeppner to Star in Nutcracker Ballet November 26-28

Grace Nimmer (L) and Emily Hoeppner (R) rehearse for the ballet

Grace Nimmer (L) and Emily Hoeppner (R) rehearse for the ballet

Sophie Hornberger, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Notre Dame Academy senior Grace Nimmer and junior Emily Hoeppner will be performing in The Nutcracker at St. Norbert College November 26-28. 

Nimmer, who is also a captain of NDA’s dance team, has been involved in the Nutcracker productions since she was a little kid. 

“I first got involved with dance when my parents signed me up for Shirley Van’s Dance Studio at three, and I have been dancing ever since,” said Nimmer. “I auditioned for The Nutcracker when I was about eight years old.”

Hoeppner has also danced since a young age, beginning at two years old; however, this is her first time performing in The Nutcracker. 

Hoeppner and Nimmer will both be playing young Clara in the opening and closing shows, respectively. 

“I was just very in shock because it was my first year at The Company, and there were so many other girls who have been doing this since they were like three,” said Hoeppner. “It felt very surreal and very stressful.”

“This is my last year performing in The Nutcracker with the Dance Company since I am a senior,” explained Nimmer. “I am looking forward to dancing the role of Clara in front of an audience.”

As part of their experiences, the pair also gets to dance with members of Milwaukee’s Ballet company. 

“In Act One there is a young Clara who falls asleep and then wakes up as an adult,” said Hoeppner, “and then the wooden Nutcracker becomes the Nutcracker Prince who’s a live person, and those two people are played by Milwaukee ballet dancers.”

“I love having them there with us,” said Nimmer, describing the Milwaukee dancers. “They bring a completely new and fun experience to the audience and all the other dancers in the company.”

“Just watching them is so much fun because they are really talented and very nice people,” said Hoeppner. 

Both Nimmer and Hoeppner are incredibly passionate about dance and have loved their experiences in The Nutcracker.

“I have made so many friends through dance that they are basically like my second family,” said Nimmer. “Dance is my home away from home.”

“It’s just happy and everyone is lifting each other up,” added Hoeppner. “Everyone loves what they’re doing.”

Nimmer and Hoeppner both hope to see their NDA peers at the performances to support them and to enjoy the production in preparation for the holiday season. 

The Nutcracker Ballet is a classic,” said Nimmer. “People should come to watch the performances because it brings a little Christmas spirit, and it is something fun to do with your family and friends.”

Tickets are available to purchase through the online St. Norbert box office at

“I’m just excited to put it all together and for everyone to hopefully come out and see all the hard work that we’ve been putting into it,” said Hoeppner.