Born to dance: Grace Walker

Grace Walker ’26 is a flourishing young dancer who has big dreams.
Grace Walker 26 is a young ballerina with a bright future.
Grace Walker ’26 is a young ballerina with a bright future.
Maya Mueller

Grace Walker ’26 is taking the dance world by storm. As a sophomore, she is soaring above the rest with her dedication and love for the sport. From small roles in “The Nutcracker” to playing one of the biggest roles as the Snow Queen and Arabian Lead, her hard work is evident.

Walker has always had a passion for dancing since the age of three. Being in her first Nutcracker performance at six, Walker has been in 10 productions of “The Nutcracker” since then. 

“I’ve been like the entire ballet,”

— Grace Walker '26

She put tremendous effort into her role to prepare for her performance last year. For 12 weeks, she was practicing every weekend for hours. She stayed dedicated even during school by listening to “The Nutcracker” soundtrack during classes. 

It can be difficult to balance a full schedule and dancing. With dancing every day after school until 9 p.m., Walker has become an expert at managing her life. She sacrificed her Thanksgiving break to do all the upcoming work for her classes. “I do all my schoolwork the week before the Nutcracker and then I don’t do anything the week of The Nutcracker,” Walker said.

Every dancer has someone they look up to; in Walker’s case, she has many inspirations. Walker looks up to ballerinas like Marienela Núñez, who is a principal ballerina. “She’s the most amazing principal ballerina in the entire world,” said Walker.

Throughout her early dance career, she admired her dancing coaches.  “When I was younger, it was my teachers because growing up I wanted the validation of their support, but they’ve been super supportive my entire life and I love them. I spend more time with them than anyone else.” 

Encouragement from her coaches has taken Walker far in her dancing career. Leslie Nolte, Walker’s long-time dance coach, has always believed strongly in her. “She knows how to carve the space and make the shapes in a very beautiful way,” Nolte said.

Nolte speaks fondly of her interactions with Grace. “She’s kind of a free spirit with a lot of strength and commitment that makes her as good as she is.”

Nolte talked about how she has taught Walker for around eight years. “She works hard in the room, but she’s also hilarious.”

Nolte and Walker have developed a very close and special bond over these years.  “No matter what she chooses, or where she goes, I will remain one of her biggest fans.”

She knows how to carve the space and make the shapes in a very beautiful way.

— Leslie Nolte

Walker’s love for dance goes beyond high school; she aspires to become a professional ballerina and attend the Royal Ballet School in London. “In high school, I’d love to continue improving and growing, and then out of high school, I’d love to do it in college and hopefully throughout the rest of my life.”

Nolte believes that Walker has the ability and talent to make it past high school in her dancing career.  “I don’t think someone could fake what it is they show me on stage and what she shows me on stage is that she’s meant to at least keep dancing [in] her life somehow.” 

When asked what advice she had for others who want to get into dance, Walker said, “Dance is a mindset activity. If you think you can, you can. So just going for things is always at least what I do and what I tell [other] people to do.”

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