Staying on Pointe

Dr. Pamela Onderko looks forward to her fifth year participating in The Nutcracker of Middle Georgia

As a podiatrist, Dr. Onderko has committed her life to promoting foot health. In her free time, however, she also supports an intense sport known to wreak havoc on feet through pointe shoes, rapid movements and gravity-defying poses.

Nutcracker of Middle Georgia
Dr. Onderko as Mother Duck in 2015; Photo courtesy of Maryann Bates

Dr. Onderko and her daughter, Lily, have made a tradition out of dancing in the Nutcracker of Middle Georgia. This is the first year Dr. Onderko and Lily will perform on stage at the same time: Dr. Onderko as an adult party guest and Lily as Clara’s friend. 

“Lily was ecstatic for the role,” said Dr. Onderko. “Beyond words.” 

Approximately 70 dancers tried out to be one of Clara’s six friends and Lily made the cut. Dr. Onderko is very proud of her and looks forward to performing alongside her.

Being a podiatrist by day and a ballerina by night may sound paradoxical, but Dr. Onderko is able to help the careers of other ballerinas like Murray McCormack, who will dance Lead Marzapan and Flowers this year. Murray, a junior at Stratford Academy, began dance lessons at the age of two and currently spends most of her free time doing just that. Murray dances with the Middle Georgia Youth Ballet and has spent the last three summers at the top three ballet schools in the country: The School of American Ballet in New York City, Miami City Ballet School and Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle. These are intense 5-week programs where students dance all day every day. For a dancer like Murray, it is not if she will have a foot problem – it’s when. Whether it is filing down a callous to finding the perfect toe pad to get through a grueling practice regimen, Dr. Onderko keeps Murray on pointe. Dr. Onderko understands what drives Murray, so she works to not just alleviate pain but to propel the athlete further.

Murray’s mother, Nicole, serves on the board of the Nutcracker of Middle Georgia as the second vice president and finance chairman. 

“The first year Murray was in The Nutcracker, it was like the bug bit. She loved it so much,” said Nicole. “I volunteered backstage that year and I loved it too I’ve never been involved with anything so well orchestrated. Everything runs so smoothly.”

Murray McCormack as Butterfly in 2015; Photo courtesy of Maryann Bates

According to Nicole, the Nutcracker has become a tradition for many families in Middle Georgia. The production, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, recruits local talent as well as professional dancers from across the nation. 

This year, Bobby Berg, a professional set designer from New York City,  will be coming to a performance.

The Nutcracker begins on  December 7, 2016. Ticketing information can be found on their website, MidGANut




posted 05/01/2017 in Blog

Tags: nutcracker of middle georiga, midganutcracker, dr pamela onderko, dr onderko, murray mccormack, macon ballet, ballet injuries, foot injury, pointe shoe injury


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