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A night with Ballet Nebraska is one to remember

March 13, 2019

Five-year-old Samantha and her mom don’t get to spend much time together. Recovery from alcohol addiction and an ongoing custody battle make it difficult, if not impossible. And it weighs on 29-year-old Abby Poitier’s mind.

So you can imagine how when the single mother talks about the time she treated her only daughter to a night at the ballet, it brings tears to her eyes. Almost instantly.

For the past several years, the Iowa West Foundation has awarded grants to Ballet Nebraska for general operating funds and performances at the Iowa Western Arts Center. A portion of those tickets has gone to Heartland Family Service to distribute to underserved families in Council Bluffs.

While undergoing treatment at HFS, Poitier found out two tickets to The Nutcracker had her and Sammie’s names on them.

“She talked about going for weeks on end,” Poitier recalled. “I was excited, too, as it was my first time going as well, but I was mainly excited for Sammie.”

That special day in December involved special preparation – straightening Sammie’s normally curly hair and picking out a brand new Hello Kitty jacket and matching boots.

“I also made sure she took a nap,” Poitier said. “I didn’t want her to be cranky.”

Poitier wasn’t sure how her daughter would react to the show, but within minutes she realized the visual splendor and charming story had transported her daughter to the enchanting Land of Snow and the magnificent Kingdom of Sweets, just as the program promises. The Nutcracker included a cast of nearly 150 dancers and more than 240 beautiful costumes.

“It warms our hearts to be able to share the magic of dance in southwest Iowa, especially with those who would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience a program like this,” said Erika Overturff, Artistic Director and Founder of Ballet Nebraska.

“Sammie was on the edge of her seat the whole time, amazed by it all,” Poitier said. “She still talks about it.”

The memories stick with Poitier and go beyond the $90 value of the tickets.

“When I saw her face glow…it just made me feel good as a mom to be able to do something special with her, and to make her feel special,” Poitier said. “To make up for…

Lost time.

Ballet Nebraska’s 2015-2016 season opens Oct. 2 with “Cleopatra” at the Orpheum. Performances of “The Nutcracker” and “Momentum: Go West!” are scheduled at the Iowa Western Arts Center. For more information, visit

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