By John Law,
Niagara Falls Review
March 3, 2014
[Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada] – Kieran Murphy couldn’t understand it – why was he being shamed by his friends for loving dance? It was physical. It was hard work. It was something they all watched on TV. And yet, he was mocked for deciding this was what he wanted to do with his life.
“I just remember everyone kept bugging me and stuff, and then teasing me,” says the 12-year-old John Marshall Public School student. “They just wouldn’t stop. At the time I was shy and didn’t really stick up for myself. I didn’t say anything, really.”
“He did it for several years and he was very good,” recalls mom Amber. “Then (people) started saying ‘Dance is for girls, especially ballet.’ He became self-conscious.”
A few years later his younger sister Lilah became interested in dance, and Kieran decided to give it another go. If his friends weren’t on board, so be it. “This fall, he just came into his own and realized, ‘I don’t care what other people say’,” says Amber.
Watching shows like Dancing With the Stars, Kieran’s eyes lit up at how high they could jump. He had to try again. He started taking classes at Imagination Dance & Fitness in Niagara Falls last fall, then decided to take his shot at the big leagues: The National Ballet of Canada. He was among 1,000 kids who attended a recent open audition in Toronto, with the top 150 kids invited to a four-week training program this July.
Kieran thought his sister, who also auditioned, would be the one invited. Instead, it was him. “I just wanted to go home, because I didn’t think I was going to get in,” he says.
“These people that were auditioning were phenomenal,” adds Amber. “But it’s based on potential. They saw something (in Kieran).”
Now comes the hard, and expensive, part. The summer program will be an intense program meant to weed out the great prospects from the merely good. Of the 150 chosen, 50 will be invited to the full-time Professional Ballet Program in September.
But affording the summer program is tougher than any pirouette. Giving her son a chance at his dream will cost Amber, a single mom with three kids, $4,000 tuition. To help soften the blow, she has started a page at GoFundMe.com. As of Monday [March 3], it had raised just over $1,000 of the costs.
She wouldn’t go through this if she didn’t see a future in dance for him. “He’s always been one of those driven boys, with everything he’s ever taken on,” she says.
Kieran is still trying to grasp how he made it this far. “It’s just hard to believe. When something’s so cool, it’s hard to accept sometimes!”
But he’s also aware of the pressure put on his mom. “Without her, I probably wouldn’t be back into dance.”
© 2014 Welland Tribune