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Dream, Reach, Discover,Create
July 22, 2012

When Tanner Bleck was little, he wanted to be on Blues Clues. “I always wanted to be Steve from Blues Clues, it used to be my favorite show,” said Tanner.

So when he was six years old, he asked for acting lessons for his birthday. From then on, he’s loved performing.

Now an accomplished dancer, the 14-year old from Lexington, KY will perform this Friday along with nearly 150 advanced ballet students from around the globe in Next Generation Ballet’s Summer Fantasy.

The show will be a culmination of NGB’s summer intensive and will include performances from professional guest artists including Jeffrey Cirio and Lia Cirio of the Boston Ballet, and Dylan G-Bowley of Ballet Memphis.

When Tanner was seven years old, through his acting classes, he learned about the concept of the triple threat (an actor, singer and dancer), which piqued his interest in dance. A fan of the television show So You Think You Can Dance, he thought he’d take ballroom dance. But he couldn’t find any local classes. He wasn’t immediately sold on the idea of ballet, but his mom told him that ballet was the basis for most other dance styles.

“She told me, ‘if you can do that, you can do anything,’” he said.

So he decided to take the plunge and signed up for lessons at Bluegrass Youth Ballet.

“Every since I took my first ballet class, I fell in love with it,” said Tanner, who went on to the School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Lexington, and continued lessons at Bluegrass Youth Ballet.

Now, instead of dreaming about being on TV, he dreams of becoming a professional dancer.

Earlier this year, he took first place in the junior classical dance category at the Indianapolis regional Youth America Grand Prix competition. “At competitions, I like that feeling of seeing other kids do really good, and I want to be as good as them.”

He went on to the YAGP finals in New York in April and has since had invitations to study at some of the best ballet schools.

He has chosen to join us this fall at the Patel Conservatory to train full-time in NGB’s pre-professional program. “I kept hearing everyone talk about how Peter [Stark] would be a good fit for me. I had this gut feeling to come here,” said Tanner. “Then I started working with Peter, and I knew this is the one [school] I wanted to go to…

“He’s helped me so much with my technique, and helping me build strength.”

In addition learning how to jump higher and land his double tours, Tanner’s also enjoyed getting to know dancers from around the country these past few weeks. And, he’s earned the privilege to perform a solo in this Friday’s show [July 24].

“No one’s really asked me to do anything like that before, my own solo,” he said.

He’s thrilled to be able “to dance with other amazing dancers from around the world.”

Other guest performers include NGB alumni Drew Nelson and Skyler Martin. Nelson currently attends Royal Ballet School (RBS), and Martin is a recent graduate of the RBS (2012) and new company member with Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam.

Related Articles: Young dancer’s goal is to fill the shoes of ‘Billy Elliot’

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