By Michael Kleber-Diggs
On a recent Saturday afternoon, I sat down with Sadie Woolman-Schlukebier who landed the starring role of Annie in the Out on a Limb Dance Company production of, you guessed it, “Annie.” Sadie is a charming, mature, and poised ten year-old, and she impressed me with her grace and professionalism. I arrived as rehearsals were underway and got to see a few minutes behind the scenes before we sat down to visit. She is a great dancer and fits right in with the Company Members who are also part of the show. Sadie and I sat down to learn a bit more about her, the show, and the character she’ll play, Annie.
Let’s start with an easy one, how old are you?
I’m ten years old.
And what grade are you in?
I am in fifth grade.
How long have you been dancing?
I’ve been dancing for seven years, and I've been with Out on a Limb for about five years.
Wow, so you’ve dancing since you were very young?
Yeah, since as long as I can remember.
Which dance style to you like best?
My favorite is tap. I also like jazz.
Do you have any dance heroes? Who is your favorite dancer?
I like Misty Copeland. She’s really cool.
What did it feel like when you were told you were selected for the lead in Annie?
I was really happy. I didn’t know what to say or anything, but I also didn’t want anybody else to be sad. It’s hard when a lot of people want the same part.
But you have an understudy…
Yes, and she’s great.
How are rehearsals going?
Oh, they’ve been really busy, but they’re really fun.
Is your part difficult?
Well, some dances are harder than others, and it’s just overall hard to memorize everything. But I like that.
What's your favorite part about being on stage doing dance theater?
I like to dance in front of the school kids, because I like to be in school, and I wish I could go to places and see other people in dance shows. I think that would be a lot of fun.
Do you get nervous when you’re up there at all?
Well, at first, before I start dancing I’m really nervous. Once I start dancing, I sort of get used to it and forget about it and how many people are going to be watching and just dance my part.
Have you gone to see the movie Annie?
I haven’t seen the new one. I’ve seen the old one, but not the new one yet.
What can you tell us about the Annie the character that you play? What is she like?
She’s very tough, but she’s really soft too. She’s soft because she falls for “Daddy” Warbucks. She’s tough because her orphanage is really mean. It’s hard there. But she finds a way to survive it.
What is your favorite scene?
My favorite is “Hard Knock Life.” It’s the second scene, and it’s really fun and energetic. There are a lot of people in that one.
Why should people come to see the show?
Because it’s super fun, and it’s just really creative.
What do you like to do when you're not dancing?
I like to play piano. It’s my other hobby, and I also like to read too. And watch TV.
What is your favorite TV show?
I like Master Chef Junior.
What is your favorite book?
I think my favorite book is “Chains” by Laurie Halse Anderson. I just did an essay on it recently at school.
What is your favorite movie?
I like “Mister Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.”
What do you want to do when you're all grown up and done with school?
I want to be a dancer and a dance teacher too. I also want to be a school teacher. I’d like to do all three.
Thanks so much, Sadie. I enjoyed visiting with you.