I am so excited to be chosen as one of the Viewers’ Choice winners of the March 2016 Harlequin Scholarship Video Contest! I would like to give a GREAT BIG thank you to Harlequin Floors and to everyone who took the time to view and vote for my video!!! Hopefully each person that watches my video will be filled with the joy that I feel while I am dancing! Ballet dancing gives me a feeling of freedom that I cannot experience any other way! I feel like it was what I was born to do!
I am finishing my tenth year of training at New Bern Ballet, a small local studio. I have been classically trained since age five and began pointe work at age eight. Although my primary focus is classical ballet and pointe training, I also study Character, Lyrical, and Contemporary dance. I am a member of the New Bern Ballet Company which is the performing company in residence at our dance school. Our company presents at least three major ballet performances a year. I train six days a week (approximately twenty-five hours a week) including classes and company rehearsals.
I have studied classical ballet with Laura Karmi, owner of New Bern Ballet, since I began my training at age five. Leslie Fields joined the New Bern Ballet staff three years ago and became one of my instructors as well. I have been blessed in having such wonderful and encouraging teachers! Mrs. Fields is my variations coach and helped me learn this Medora variation from “Le Corsaire.” It is a difficult variation because of the multiple turns, but that is why I chose it! I love turning en pointe and feel it is one of my strongest elements in ballet.
I am grateful and excited to be training this summer at the School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York City. I learned so much when I trained at SAB last summer, and I am hoping to build on what I learned to become an even stronger dancer in the Balanchine technique. The chance to train with some of the world’s greatest ballet dancers and teachers is an amazing opportunity. Last year I was fortunate to have Darci Kistler, one of my ballet inspirations, as one of my instructors! I have previously attended summer intensives at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, PA, where I also had an amazing experience.
I do not take for granted the opportunities I have had to train away from home during the summer. I am very thankful for the financial support that I have received from generous donors such as Harlequin Floors as well as from the schools themselves which made it possible for me to accept their invitations. My options for local training will diminish next year, as the owner of my local studio plans to retire at the end of this season. I have been offered several opportunities to train away from home with major ballet schools, but without financial assistance there is no way that these dreams can become a reality. While I do not wish to leave my home at age 15, I know that is my best option to continue my training as I aspire to dance with a professional ballet company.
I am thankful to my family for their sacrifices and support, and to God who has blessed me with the talent and opportunities that I have been fortunate enough to attain and enjoy so far! I am so excited to see what the future holds!
Thank you again!