Go behind the scenes of “An American Girl: Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight”
Every year, the folks behind the American Girls dolls name a “Girl of the Year.” For 2014, that girl is Isabelle Palmer, who is depicted as a nine-year-old girl studying ballet at a performing arts school. Isabelle also loves fashion design, especially creating ballet costumes, but has trouble adjusting at her new school, where she lacks self-confidence until she finds a way to stand out and use her special talents to help others.
An American Girl: Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight features Erin Pitt (Against the Wild) as Isabelle and Melora Hardin (The Office, Hannah Montana: The Movie) as Mrs. Palmer. In the film, Isabelle is an inspired dancer with a flair for fashion design. She’s thrilled to be studying ballet at a prestigious performing arts school, but is surrounded by talented classmates — and she can’t help feeling that she’s always in the shadow of her “perfect” older sister, Jade (Grace Davidson). So when her idol, a famous ballerina, encourages her to audition for a professional ballet, Isabelle isn’t sure she can land the role. And when a competitive classmate starts pointing out Isabelle’s every mistake, her confidence sinks even further. Isabelle needs to find a way to step into the spotlight and discover her own way to shine.
Though in their roles as sisters, the two girls experience some conflict over their shared talent, the actresses and other cast members stress that in real life, no such conflict existed. Hardin noted, “it was so cute because they really bonded — I think they made a lifelong friendship, which is really wonderful to see.”
A high point of the movie are the numerous dance routines, including a Halloween hip-hop number and scenes from the holiday favorite The Nutcracker. Two weeks of intensive rehearsal prior to the start of filming meant a lot of work for the cast and crew, but everyone involved seemed to enjoy the experience. Choreographer Paul Becker says, of the Halloween dance, “it’s gonna to be a hot number; I’m really excited about doing this one.” And professional dancer Tanya Howard, who appears in the film as Jackie Sanchez, adds, “they really are quick studies, they really take direction well, I was very impressed with them.”
An American Girl: Isabelle Dances Into The Spotlight is available starting July 22 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
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photo credit: © An American Girl 2014. All Rights Reserved