T. K. Stone Middle School eighth-grader Alexis Hayes has been practicing ballet with the Dance Centre of Elizabethtown for most of her life.

Throughout her 10 years with the Dance Centre, Hayes has taken on several roles in the organization’s annual production of “The Nutcracker.”

This year, Hayes landed the lead role, Clara, in the production. Auditioning for the part in October, Hayes said she found out she got the role approximately three weeks later.

“I was really excited,” she said.

With performances set for next month, Hayes said she is excited to once again help bring “The Nutcracker” to area audiences, especially now that she is in such a prominent role in the production.

Hayes said through ballet, she said she has developed key lessons in discipline and etiquette. She said she also has formed very close friendships through her involvement in the Dance Centre, noting that she met her four best friends through dance while in kindergarten.

“We’re all still best friends to this day and we’re all still dancing,” she said. “It’s been really fun.”

In addition to her involvement in the Dance Centre, Hayes also has done some acting through her former elementary school, Morningside Elementary School, through T.K. Stone and through her church, White Mills Christian Church.

At Morningside, Hayes performed in “Santa Remembers Christmas,” a play written by her grandfather, Tim Dennis, who serves as minister at White Mills Christian Church. Her mother, Laura Beth Hayes, helped oversee the drama program at the school.

Hayes also performed in the Hardin Playhouse’s production of “The Sisters Grimm” earlier this year.

In addition to her love of ballet and acting, Hayes also enjoys playing the piano. She said she has taken lessons for five years and currently is taking lessons with local instructor Sheila Jolly.

Through her lessons with Jolly, Hayes has performed piano recitals for residents at area nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

“I love playing at nursing homes because even if you mess up, the people are always so happy to hear people play,” she said. “…They are really sweet.”

At T.K. Stone, Hayes is involved in Beta Club and Student Council. Through Beta Club, Hayes volunteered for the Down Syndrome Association of the Heartland’s annual Buddy Walk in October, designed to promote inclusion and provide support for those with Down syndrome.

During the Buddy Walk, Hayes said she helped set up a balloon arch that participants walked through, offered face painting for attendees and played games with some of the children at the event.

Through Student Council, Hayes said she currently is planning an initiative to provide blankets for homeless individuals in the region and a food drive for Warm Blessings.

Looking toward her future in the performing arts, Hayes said she would like to continue dancing into college. She said though she doesn’t want to become a professional ballerina, she said she would like to one day earn a business degree and open her own dance studio.

“I just have a passion for dance and I just want to keep going with dance for the rest of my life,” she said.

Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-505-1413 or acritchelow@thenewsenterprise.com.

Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-505-1413 or acritchelow@thenewsenterprise.com.