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Thomas Dilley at Premiere DanceElite studio, Tuggerah. He started taking ballet seriously when he was 12 (Peter Clark) 2015

 

By Terry Collins
The Daily Telegraph
November 23, 2015

 

[New South Wales, Australia] – When he was five, Thomas Dilley started a dance class with his older sister. A year later, she left the class, but he kept on and now, the Bateau Bay 16-year-old is set to move to Melbourne to study fulltime with the Australian Ballet School.

Thomas will feature as one of just 51 selected artists from all over the state in this year’s Schools Spectacular on Friday and Saturday [November 27th & 28th 2015] ahead of his move to Melbourne early next year.

“Thomas was offered a scholarship to study with the Australian Ballet when he was 13, but at that time, we couldn’t relocate the entire family to Melbourne and we felt he was too young to live so far from home,” his mum Julie Dilley said. “But now the ballet school has a boarders’ residence for its students and we feel the time is right.”

Thomas, who studies via distance education, has applied for a scholarship, but will attend the school next year with or without one. “He will go even if we have to beg, borrow or steal the money to send him,” Mrs Dilley said. “Thomas only started to take ballet seriously when he was 12 after his teachers saw his potential and now it is his sole focus.”

Since his original scholarship offer, Thomas also excelled at the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition in New York last year, making it to the final 12 from a field of thousands. “He was offered several scholarships at that time to the US, Russia and Monaco, but he was too young at the time and we could not afford fares and accommodation for him,” Mrs Dilley said. “Even so, it was an amazing achievement.”

Thomas can’t wait to further his ballet experience. “I am so excited to be studying at a ballet school with such amazing teachers and facilities,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to join a well-known ballet company, either in Australia or overseas. To be paid to do something I love so much is my dream.”

Thomas looks well set on his path to a professional ballet career.

The young dancer, who trains at least six hours every day, will feature in an ensemble ballet piece and perform a contemporary solo piece at the Spectacular at Qantas Credit Union Arena in Sydney. The show was this year opened to distance education students and it will be his first Spectacular experience. “I’ve wanted to do it for so long, but never had the opportunity before,” he said.

It will be televised on Channel 9.

 

Copyright 2015 News Limited

 

Read more about Thomas: Thomas Dilley, 15, to compete in the Youth America Grand Prix

 

 

 

When the 16-year-old South African was told he was too short to become a principal dancer, it motivated him to prove himself. He talks medals, 6am starts and two-minute naps

 

Leroy Mokgatle at the Genée International ballet competition (Elliott Franks, Royal Academy of Dance) 2015

 

By David Jays
The Guardian
January 26, 2015

 

Ballet came to me almost by mistake. At school, we had to choose an extra-mural activity, like soccer or basketball. I saw ballet on the list, and chose it because I didn’t really know what it meant. I was the only boy in the class, but straight away I loved it. I enjoyed how inside it’s always challenging, but on the outside you have to make it look immaculate and effortless.

Now I’m in my fourth and final year at the Art of Motion School in Johannesburg. I live at the school – but it’s more luxurious than Hogwarts! Our day starts at 6am, and ends at 6.30pm. It’s a long day, very challenging and intensive – I had to get my body used to the programme. When I first joined the school, I didn’t feel ready to get up in time for a 6am class, but now I enjoy it. Sometimes I’ll take a two-minute nap to recharge my batteries. It’s 46C here at the moment, so at the end of the day, I’ll jump in the pool and cool down before I do homework.

We start with conditioning and fitness, and then ballet and contemporary class. In the afternoon, we do our academic studies – that’s the stressful part for me! If you come straight from a class where a turn hasn’t worked as well as you would want it to, you’ll be thinking about it during maths. But the school is flexible – if you’re struggling with a variation you can ask for more time to work on it.

In the evening, we rehearse for productions or work on our competition solos. I am doing a lot of major competitions – the South African and then Varna International ballet competitions. When I choose what to dance, I don’t look at flashy tricks and turns – I just have to listen to the music and then I know. Something like Le Corsaire is often danced by more muscular boys, but I’m healthy and outgoing and it can fit my personality. At a competition, although we’re competing, backstage we’re all together. It can be a little awkward competing against someone you know, but in the end it’s about exposure to international artistic directors. You mustn’t think about medals, but about performing.

Winning the Genée International ballet competition at Sadler’s Wells last year was a complete surprise. I was dancing my heart out, and for a minute or two forgot it was a competition. I was dancing for the audience, not for the medal. In one section, we had to dance an original solo. Esmé Hoffmann, who runs the school, created Freedom the Tribute for me: it is set to a song about Nelson Mandela which says “I’m looking for freedom”. It really touched me. I may be small, I might not have the most extended feet or longest legs – but I have what I have, and when I’m on stage I’m in my own world.

I’ve had a few people say, you’re not going to make it into a ballet company or become a principal dancer because of your height. That doesn’t discourage me – instead it motivates me to prove that I can be someone.

It took my family time to get into my dancing. They are more on the academic side – metallurgy, IT – and did ask, “Are you sure you want to do this?” They would understand sport, but I want to be different. I want to do something no one else can. Esmé told us – don’t ever make a plan B for your life. If you do, it’s as if you’re saying, “it’s OK if this doesn’t work out.” For me, there is no plan B.

 

© 2016 Guardian News and Media Limited

 

Leroy Mokgatle – age 14, South African International Ballet Competition 2014  Scholars Classical Solo – Gold Medalist

 

Leroy Mokgatle – age 14, South African International Ballet Competition 2014  Contemporary Solo – Gold Medalist

Euan Garrett, 12, is Billy Elliot (SWNS - RealFix) 2015

 

Realfix.com
December 7, 2015

 

[London, England] – A 12-year-old boy who prefers dancing to fighting has landed the leading role in the West End production of Billy Elliot. Euan Garrett had been a brown and white belt in karate, rugby player and runner before taking up ballet just one year ago. But he has now landed the lead role in the London West End production which is based on a boy who would rather be a dancer than a boxer.

The youngster from North Berwick, East Lothian, went through an intensive six months of training before finally taking to the stage at Victoria Palace Theatre last month.

Dad John Garrett, 51, said Euan had initially needed some convincing to take up ballet.

He said: “Euan only started dancing when he was seven, but as soon as he did, we all knew he was born to dance.

Euan Garrett, 12, on stage as Billy Elliot (SWNS - RealFix) 2015“We used to take him to rugby and karate, which he really enjoyed, and then he started a dance class at Law Primary School where he was a pupil. He really enjoyed it and after a few sessions, the teacher told us we ought to take him to professional dance classes because she could see talent. She recommended ballet, but Euan is a typical boy and at first, he said no – in his eyes that wasn’t cool.”

But in the months that followed, the youngster fell in love with dance, and decided to seek professional training. He was a dedicated pupil of Julie Friar at the Dunbar School of Dancing and repeatedly practised his audition routine with her.

She said: “As soon as Euan started dancing at my school I knew he had something special. Euan had a goal he wanted to achieve. It’s all about the work the pupils put in. It’s amazing one of my former students is now on the West End. I’m so proud of him. He’s a very talented young man and exceptionally hardworking.”

His mum Dawn Adam, 49, added that she is very proud of her Euan after landing a big role only a year after appearing in a local dance display.

She said: “Euan and Julie spent hours preparing for his final audition together. It’s scary to think this time last year he was performing in his local dance display and now he’s on London’s West End. We are so proud of him.”

Before landing his West End role, Euan was also a Scottish Ballet Junior associate, and performed in Lord of the Flies as well as Scottish Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker.

Speaking of his debut as Billy, Euan said: “It’s just amazing because it’s always been my dream role. I feel very special because only a few boys have played the part of Billy Elliot in London. I was just so excited when I found out I had got the role.”

The musical is based on the film Billy Elliot which was released in 2000. It is set in County Durham during the miners’ strike when Billy, a young boxer, discovers a love of ballet.

Euan is expected to play the role for at least a year.

 

Copyright © 2015 real fix.

 

 

By Georgia Osland
Lakes Mail
January 14, 2016

 

Benjamin Anderson, 13, is ready to make his mark on the Australian ballet scene (Darren Pateman) 2016[Arcadia Vale, New South Wales, Australia] – Arcadia Vale ballet dancer Benjamin Anderson is about to take the leap. The 13-year-old former Newcastle Ballet Theatre student will this weekend move into the Australian Ballet School’s brand new, state-of-the-art student residence in Melbourne.

There he will study dance full-time for five years and attend the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School.

The world-renowned Australian Ballet School’s eight-level program aims to produce graduates of the highest calibre, many of whom go on to dance with the top professional companies in Australia and around the world.

Benjamin was one of only four boys in the country – and the only one in the state – to gain acceptance into the ballet school’s entry-level program late last year. He was chosen based on his performance at national auditions, where he caught selectors’ eyes.

The former Hunter School of the Performing Arts student said when his mum, Karen told him the news he could hardly believe it. “I remember it clearly,” he said. “I was actually at school when mum rang me and told me I’d been accepted. I felt like crying I was so happy.”

Benjamin has been dancing since he was seven but has only three years’ technical training. Naturally, he is excited to start his professional ballet career so early in the peace.

After he finishes the program, he may be asked to join the prestigious Australian Ballet Company.

It is Benjamin’s dream to star in productions such as Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. But wherever he ends up, he is excited for what lies ahead.

“There are a lot of opportunities,” he said. “The company can accept you into the program or you can get overseas scholarships. Anything can happen.”

And on moving away from his family, Benjamin said it would be tough but he knew he would pull through. “I think I’ll definitely miss home – my mum, my dad and my brother – but I’ll be fine.

“It’ll definitely be worth it to follow my passion.”

 

Copyright © 2016. Fairfax Media

 

 

Boys at En Pointe School of Ballet (Utah):

 

Boy Musketeers at En Pointe School of Ballet (En Pointe School of Ballet) 2015

 

Boys at En Pointe School of Ballet (Don Polo Photography) 2015

 

Two young dynamos fill the big dancing shoes of musical’s title role

 

Ethan Ribeiro, 14, (right) and Eamon Stocks, 15 are highly committed actors who have been preparing for Billy Elliot in rehearsal spaces at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet since Sept. 10 (Ruth Bonneville, Winnipeg Free Press) 2015

 

By Randall King
Winnipeg Free Press
January 13, 2015

 

[Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada] – When it comes to placing Billy Elliot the Musical in its proper context within the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s 2015-16 schedule, RMTC artistic director Steven Schipper doesn’t hesitate to describe it as their tent-pole show of the season.

Indeed, it comes to the Winnipeg stage bearing the laurels of a monster musical hit since it premièred on the London stage in 2005, featuring music by Elton John and book and lyrics by Lee Hall (who scripted the 2000 film on which the play was based). After opening on Broadway in 2008, it went on to be nominated for 15 Tony Awards, winning 10, including best musical.

In short, Billy Elliot is a big deal. It’s somehow all the more exciting that the success of the Winnipeg iteration of the musical rests on the shoulders of a couple of Ontario kids who have yet to blow out 16 candles.

Eamon Stocks, who just turned 15, hails from Whitby. Ethan Ribeiro, 14, comes from Kitchener. On alternating days, they’ll take turns playing the demanding role of Billy, a motherless 12-year-old being raised in the tough environs of a North East England mining community during the miners strike of 1984-85. Compounding Billy’s challenges, he nurtures a passion for dance when his dad would rather he took up the more macho activity of boxing.

It is an understatement to say the role requires much of its performers, even beyond the triple-threat requirements of singing, dancing and acting.

“In terms of the Billys, we were fortunate to find two,” says Schipper, who also directs this production. “Because there weren’t three.

“We saw a little over a dozen young men from all across the country. In the end, they were the only two who could do it.”

Of course, they’re also different. They even sing in different keys.

“They bring different strengths and they bring slightly different interpretations, only because they’re using their own humanity,” Schipper says. “They process the story of the play using their own emotions. But they’re both on the same beats in every moment that the story requires and their fellow actors require,” he says. “So everyone in the company is still getting what they need from Billy. I have no qualms about which night our audience sees. They’re both excellent.”

They are also both highly committed actors who have been preparing for their performances in rehearsal spaces at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet since Sept. 10.

Eamon, who has been studying singing, dancing and acting since he was six, has had his eye on the role of Billy since the show hit Toronto in 2011. “Obviously, I was a bit too young for it then,” he says. “But it was a fantastic experience auditioning, and then after, I saw the show and it was absolutely fantastic and it inspired me so much to continue my training in dance. And when I got the opportunity to audition for this huge role that I’d been longing to do since I was 10, I jumped on it immediately.”

Ethan came to the role as a trained dancer, but needed to catch up in the singing and acting, a challenge he has embraced. “It’s a lot different than what I’m used to, which is just straight dancing,” he says. “It’s meant really long days. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing, because I can see that I’m getting better. And I’m growing by doing this.”

“The most challenging thing about this is building up stamina,” says Eamon. “The whole show is about two hours and 15 minutes and in that run time, we have seven dance numbers, some of which are back to back.

“The biggest for Billy is Electricity, this huge song in the second act, where he has to go from singing to 2 1/2 minutes of intense ballet, back to singing, and then doing some more dancing again.

“So it’s not just stamina for dancing, it’s also finding those breaths to continue singing,” Eamon says. “There was many a time during training when Ethan and I, after three hours of dancing, we just threw ourselves on the floor.” He adds they’ve since built up their endurance: “We were able to make it through the show without oxygen tanks.”

Unlike the character they play, both Eamon and Ethan have had their talents nurtured by their families. But each actor can still relate to Billy’s struggle. “I think (we) are a lot alike because I moved away from home and went to a ballet school and now I’m doing this big role — and Billy does that too,” Ethan says, adding he will be returning to the RWB this summer to further his dance studies on a scholarship.

Eamon says he especially relates to the play’s message about being true to yourself. “In one of the play’s biggest songs, The Letter, Billy is reading this letter written by his dead mother and she writes: ‘In everything you do, always be yourself.’ ” Eamon says. “And when he discovered something he was really passionate about — dance — he didn’t care what anybody else thought of it. When he was dancing, there was no feeling quite like it.

“And that’s how I feel when I’m dancing,” he says. “When I’m onstage, there’s no feeling that can quite match what it’s like, dancing in front of an audience of hundreds of people.”

 

Copyright 2016 Winnipeg Free Press

 

Read more about Eamon: Young dancer leaps to new heights

Harris Beattie, 16, at the Phyllis Bedells Bursary Competition 2015

By Cheryl Livingstone
The Press and Journal
August 7, 2015

 

[Aberdeen, Scotland, UK] – At the young age of just 16, Harris Beattie has already made quite a name for himself.

He became a rising star in his home city of Aberdeen – and much further afield as well – after taking on the starring role in Billy Elliot – The Musical and earlier this year he was named joint winner of the Royal Academy of Dance (Rad) 2015 Phyllis Bedells bursary – having triumphed over dancers from around the world.

Former Cults Academy pupil Harris, who trains at Danscentre in Aberdeen, is now gearing up for another prestigious event, the Genee International Ballet Competition which will be held next month [September 2015] in London.

We caught up with Harris to speak about his career so far and what the future holds for him.

 

SO HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DANCING FOR?

Since I was eight I think. Now I do ballet, contemporary, jazz and tap but I’m focusing more on contemporary and ballet at the moment because that is what I want to go onto do.

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTERESTED IN IT?

My brother Alistair went to ballet classes so I think I just got a bit jealous and wanted to do it because he was doing it. Alistair is 19 now and he’s over in Bucharest with the National Romanian Ballet.

When I first started ballet my classes were in Carnoustie, they were every weekend on a Saturday. I moved to Aberdeen and now I take all my classes at Danscentre on Hutcheon Street.

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT AT FIRST?

I wasn’t too sure of it at first, I think I just grew to like it. When I was young, I liked it but I didn’t think of it as a career. But over the years I got more and more serious about it as I got older.

WHAT DID YOU ENJOY ABOUT BALLET WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED?

I think I just liked the overall thing really.

DID YOU AND YOUR BROTHER PRACTICE TOGETHER?

Not really, I think he was a bit annoyed that I was doing it too. I have three brothers and one sister. We’re the only ones that do dancing though.

I remember doing one show where we just did the one dance and I was with my brother on stage. It was some sort of pirate dance.

Harris Beattie

WHAT ARE YOU LIKE BEFORE A SHOW?

I get a bit nervous but I’m excited more than anything. I just try and concentrate on pushing myself and doing better.

YOU APPEARED IN BILLY ELLIOT – THE MUSICAL. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?

I was there for two years training and doing the show. That was back in 2011 to 2013. I was in London for quite a while doing the show and training. We would go into training for about six months, we had class every day to basically build up stamina for the show and then after you did the show, after the first night, you just maintained that and having classes regularly.

It was a really good experience. It made me realise that I don’t want to do musical theatre, I want to go down the dancing route rather than acting.

HOW MUCH ACTING DID YOU HAVE TO DO FOR BILLY ELLIOT?

You are telling a story and you have to keep an element of what you are doing it for in your face and acting it out a bit. But you are really telling the story through dance.

DID YOU ENJOY ACTING AND DANCING?

It was quite good not to be yourself. You could just be someone else for a night and do a role that you liked and dance on stage.

HAVE YOU SEEN THE FILM?

Yeah I really liked it.

Harris Beattie Dancer's Own Variation

HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE GENÉE INTERNATIONAL BALLET COMPETITION? WHY DID YOU WANT TO ENTER?

You can enter it yourself but you have to pass the exam first and get distinction in it to qualify for the competition. My teacher Karen Berry put me forward for it.

WHAT DOES THE COMPETITION INVOLVE?

For the competition you have to learn a classical 19th century ballet piece. They are quite well known so you can access the dance easily and you just have to learn that and also choreograph your own variation.

I’ve started my classical variation but I haven’t started my own one yet. I’m looking forward to choreographing.

I think it is good to show you can do something different and varied from the classical piece. It’s good to show diversity of how you can dance. It’s a great opportunity.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? IS BALLET GOING TO BE A CAREER FOR YOU? Yes definitely. I’m heading down to London in September [2015] to the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, so I’ll be studying for three years and then hopefully after that I will join a company either UK or abroad.

DO YOU FANCY TRAVELLING?

I think the more experience you can get travelling around the world adds to your knowledge of ballet.

 

© 2015 DC Thomson & Co, Ltd.

 

Read more about Harris:

Grandson of Scots entertainer Andy Stewart shines as Billy Elliot

Harris Beattie makes West End debut in Billy Elliott

Royal Ballet place for Harris Beattie

 

Note: Nina Amir is author of My Son can Dance. For years she has written about her son Julian’s experience as a boy dancer. Julian is now a professional dancer with the Semperoper Ballett.

 

Boys and Ballet posts tagged Nina Amir/Mysoncandance.  

 

By Nina Amir
Mysoncandance.net
January 1, 2016

Julian Amir LaceyLittle dancin’ boys want to do what big dancin’ boys do. They want to dance with the girls—to partner. But how much partnering should your young dancer do and at what age? Knowing the answer to this question can make the difference between a long career or one that never begins. – Nina Amir

 

    Topics:  Why Young Boys Shouldn’t Lift—But Should Partner

    Early Partnering Problems

    How to Avoid Partnering Problems

    Focus Your Son’s Attention on Partnering Essentials

    The Sign Your Son is Doing Too Much Too Soon

 

Read more: http://mysoncandance.net/2016/01/at-what-age-should-dancin-boys-begin-partnering/

 

 

 

Dino Fisher-Stephens, 13. is preforming withe English National Ballet 2015

By Marion Sauvebois
Swindon Advertiser
January 5, 2016

 

[Swindon, England] – Swindon dancer Dino Fisher-Stephens is enjoying his first taste of the limelight after being cast in two of English National Ballet’s festive shows.

The 13-year-old performing arts student was handpicked to star in the acclaimed company’s productions of The Nutcracker and Le Corsaire at the London Coliseum until the end of January.

Dino, who trained at Swindon Dance, received a scholarship to study at the prestigious Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertforshire in December 2014. He joined the school the following year and within days auditioned to dance in The Nutcracker and Le Corsaire.

“A couple of weeks after starting at Tring, I auditioned for a junior part and was successful in being cast for both ballets,” he says. “I love to perform in front of people.”

He took his first steps on the Coliseum stage as a toy soldier and party boy in The Nutcracker on December 29 and will feature in the ballet until January 10. He will then perform in Le Corsaire between January 13 and 24.

Dino’s first taste of dance was with Swindon Dance’s parents and toddlers class in 2003.

He went on to join several of its troupes and its Youth Dance Academy Urban Programme.

 

Copyright 2016 Newsquest (Oxfordshire & Wiltshire) Ltd

Jack Burns, 9, is a junior associates at the Scottish Ballet school (Greenock Telegraph)

 

Greenock Telegraph
October 15, 2015

 

[Greenock, Scotland, UK] – Greenock’s very own Billy Elliot is a step closer to realising his dance dream. Gifted Jack Burns is delighted after he won a place at Scottish Ballet’s prestigious junior associates school in Glasgow.

The nine-year-old, who lives on the Esplanade with parents Karen and Robert and little brother Rory, only joined the Elite Academy of Dance in Greenock in August, but seems set for big things.

Jack said: “I’m excited but it’s a bit scary as well. I don’t really know why I like ballet — it just feels good when I’m doing it.”

Jack also won through to the final 10 in auditions for the musical Billy Elliot in Newcastle and has been told to re-apply in February, once he honed his ballet skills.

The talented all-rounder juggles ballet classes with gymnastics, drama and football, as well as modelling.

Karen, 42, a bank nurse, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic and I’m over the moon for him. “He’s been doing gymnastics for 18 months at the City of Glasgow Gymnastics Club at Bellahouston and did an audition for Billy Elliott and was told when he gets more ballet experience to go back next year.

“He’s really got into ballet — he’s loving it.” Jack’s ballet teacher, Julie Gunn, said: “Jack’s got a lot of potential — and his gymnastics helps the ballet.” The youngster and his wee brother Rory, who’s seven, both attend St Columba’s School in Kilmacolm.

Both of them study drama at UK Theatre School in Glasgow and are also on the books of a Glasgow model agency.

Rory is also no stranger to his own spot in the limelight too. He landed a role in the hit time-travel series Outlander last year.

 

Copyright 2015 Newsquest Clyde & Forth Ltd

 

 

James Applewhite and Alicia Holloway in the Snow Pas De Deux from SNB's Peanutcracker - The Story in a Nutshell. (Mark Rauh, Rauh Photography) 2015

By Rosine Bena
Reno Gazette-Journal
December 22, 2015

 

[Reno, Nevada, USA] – This is the season of holiday tradition and Sierra Nevada Ballet celebrates by presenting annual performances of “The Peanutcracker – The Story in a Nutshell” in Reno and Carson City. This year’s production (which ran Dec. 4-15) featured James Applewhite as the Snow Prince/Russian Prince.

Applewhite is a tall, thin, handsome, elegant, African-American dancer well-suited to the title of “prince.” In fact, he said that growing up in middle school, he was affectionately given that nickname by his friends.

“Performing arts gave me the path to an education and helped me discover my personal light while showing me the path to sharing it with others.”

In his younger years, Applewhite was the only African-American in his elementary    school in Florida and found that he was not    fond of school and was not a very good     student. One teacher told him: “James, you     will never be on the honor roll.”

Then he attended a performing arts middle school in Florida and discovered dance. Students were required to take dance as an accepted part of education. At this institution Applewhite found that his grades began to go up and that he actually liked school. He continued on to a performing arts high school, developing a special aptitude for ballet. In 10th grade, he had great success performing in the Nutcracker and established a fine performance reputation at school, later graduating on the honor roll. “Performing arts gave me the path to an education and helped me discover my personal light while showing me the path to sharing it with others.”

Upon graduation from high school, Applewhite was offered scholarships to the best ballet schools in the world. He continued his ballet training at the JKO School of American Ballet Theater in New York and was then offered a professional contract with the National Ballet of Canada, the Orlando Ballet and later the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

James Applewhite as the Russian Prince from SNB's Peanutcracker - The Story in a Nutshell. (Mark Rauh, Rauh Photography) 2015

Applewhite’s path was not always easy. He found that he continuously fought against being stereotyped, not only as a male ballet dancer, but as an African-American ballet dancer. He discovered that those two labels conjured up a number of preconceived notions that had no relevance to his position in life. Many people were surprised to find that he was “a strong, straight, intelligent African-American man capable of supporting a woman in every way – on stage and off.” Applewhite is a gifted partner and, while he enjoys solo dancing, one of his greatest joys is dancing pas deux, a dance for a man and a woman.

When asked if he has advice for young male dancers interested in pursuing a career in ballet, Applewhite shares, “I do not feel in a position to offer any advice, as I consider myself on an individual path to self-discovery. But I will say that ballet was developed by a man, and that man was a king. Ballet elevates the soul. Anyone who has the opportunity to study ballet should feel fortunate and filled with gratitude. I personally find it an honor and privilege to study such a beautiful, elegant, regal, spiritual art form.”

In Applewhite’s opinion, all children should have the opportunity to learn the arts as part of their regular education. “The arts can help children in so many important ways. Ballet has taught me self-discipline, coordination, honesty, spirituality, a strong work ethic, how to work with others and how to relate to a mentor/teacher in order to absorb instruction without feeling insecure. It has given me self esteem and taught me to find my center, anatomically, emotionally and spiritually. These are things that we can all take with us throughout our lives.”

 

Copyright 2015 Reno Gazette-Journal

 

 

 

Koa Chun, far right, as Fritz in Boston Ballet's Nutcracker (Rosalie O’Connor, Boston Ballet) 2015

Submitted by the Boston Ballet
The Bedford Citizen
December 21, 2015

 

Koa Chun as Fritz in Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker at the Boston Ballet (Boston Ballet)[Bedford, Massachusetts, USA] – Koa Chun, of Bedford is performing in Boston Ballet’s production of Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker in the role of Fritz. Koa has been a student at Boston Ballet School for 4 years. He is in the 6th grade at John Glenn Middle School and has performed with the Boston Ballet School for 5 years.

The Nutcracker, a timeless holiday classic, will run through December 31, 2015 at the Boston Opera House.

Koa joins more than 200 other young students from around New England in The Nutcracker. Three different casts will take on various roles, such as toy soldiers, pages, reindeer, lambs, polichinelles, baby mice, and party children during Boston Ballet’s 42 performances of The Nutcracker.

Since its world premiere in 2012, Mikko Nissinen and Robert Perdziola’s entirely re-envisioned production, set in what many know as the Jane Austen era of the early 1800s, has gained record-breaking popularity. With more than 350 handmade costumes and a series of elaborate sets featuring extensive amounts of moving scenery, the production has transformed into a uniquely magical experience. This year’s production features all new lighting design by award-winning Finnish lighting designer Mikki Kunttu. Kunttu will bring a fresh, innovative perspective to this timeless holiday classic.

Students of Boston Ballet School in The Nutcracker were hailed by The Boston Globe as “adorable, focused and disciplined” handling serious pattern and partner work with “impressive aplomb.” All children performing in The Nutcracker are students of Boston Ballet School and coached by an experienced staff including Boston Ballet’s Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen, Boston Ballet School’s Director Margaret Tracey, Ballet Mistress Melanie Atkins, and Boston Ballet School’s world-renowned faculty. Students have an exciting schedule through the months of October, November, and December, which includes rehearsals with company dancers, costume fittings, experiencing the unique, backstage atmosphere at The Boston Opera House, and numerous performances accompanied by Boston Ballet Orchestra and enthusiastic audiences.

Participating in a full-length ballet is an important performance opportunity for students, exposing them to aspects of ballet they don’t experience in a regular class. The students learn about the hard work and enjoyment that composes a live ballet performance, and have the unique opportunity to dance alongside Boston Ballet’s internationally acclaimed company dancers.

For a full synopsis and additional details, visit http://www.bostonballet.org/nutcracker/.

About Boston Ballet

Since 1963, Boston Ballet’s internationally acclaimed performances of classical, neo-classical, and contemporary ballets, combined with a dedication to world class dance education and community initiative programs, have made the institution a leader in its field, with a 52-year history of promoting excellence and access to dance.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen and Executive Director Max Hodges, the Company maintains a diverse repertoire, ranging from full-length ballets to new works by some of today’s finest choreographers. Boston Ballet’s second company, Boston Ballet II, is comprised of dancers who gain experience by performing with the Company and independently, presenting special programs to audiences throughout the Northeast.

Boston Ballet School, the official school of Boston Ballet, has a long-standing dedication to providing exceptional dance education and ballet training to students across three studios in Boston, Newton, and the North Shore. Led by Director Margaret Tracey, the School reaches more than 5,000 students (toddler to adult) each year through its four core programs: Children’s Program, Classical Ballet Program, Adult Dance Program, and Pre-Professional Program.

 

Copyright 2015 The Bedford Citizen

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