B Yourself: Stephanie Thompson

B YourselfName: Stephanie Thompson (soon to be Stephanie Rangel)

Age: 26

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida

Occupation: Choreographer

Where do you find inspiration in what you do? My first year teaching dance I had a 6-year-old student come off stage and tell me she “felt like God was giving her a big hug” when she was performing. That was the best thing I’ve ever heard.

If you could meet anyone in your field, who would it be? Do I have to pick one person? Probably Christopher Wheeldon. He choreographed a new Alice in Wonderland and adapted the rose adagio from the Sleeping Beauty for the Queen of Hearts. Brilliant.

Perfect happiness is: Every day. I’m in love, I’m healthy, I get to twirl and jump at work. I’m happy.

My best friend says I: Always have my head in the clouds…hopefully in a good way.

What is your greatest extravagance? The wedding dress I’m wearing in a month. It’s a piece of art. I felt the urge to spin in it during my fitting…I knew it was the one.

Which living person do you most admire? My best girlfriends. They are real-life examples of women who are intelligent, strong, wise, beautiful and kind. They inspire and encourage me everyday.

Current state of mind? I’m on a plane headed to Miami, so very excited. And very happy actually being in the clouds.

Why did you decide to create a Nutcracker? I could see a vacant space in our community. There are so many talented dancers and not all of them are ballerinas, and most families these days don’t have the finances to invest in another activity for their children. There are several outreach dance programs in the city and they are wonderful. So I’m adding one more. I think that by really reaching out to the entire community we are bringing people together through dance and really doing something special within our studio.

What’s special about this version? We have a few elements that make MCN an entertaining performance. We have professional singers as well as a professional ballroom dancer in the cast. The performance incorporates live singing, ballet, contemporary, gymnastics (there’s an entire scene of just gymnasts), Russian folk dance, and a few surprise special effects. It’s a nutcracker for the whole family.

How did you make the switch from professional dancer to choreographer and director?

This past season I performed with Arova Contemporary Ballet. My fiancé, David, also proposed to me on stage during our final bows. It was perfect. And it was the end to that chapter of my life. I’ve always dreamed of creating a production like The Magic City Nutcracker since the ballet inspired me when I was a child. I am thrilled to present principal dancers from ACB in our performance this December. It’s essential that the student dancers are able to meet professionals in dance as a part of their experience with our production.


 Tyson Theater, 2061 Kentucky Avenue

Questions, sponsorship information, or ticketing: MagicCityNutcracker@gmail.com

Student dancers in The Magic City Nutcracker do 

not pay more than $200 to be in the production. 


Interview and photograph by Angela Karen

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