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By Lynn Trimble
Raising Arizona Kids
April 2013

Ballet Arizona school director Carlos Valcárcel with dancers (from left) Brandon Broeker, CJ Damle and William and Ethan O’Neill 2013b

Though it’s been more than a decade since world-renowned dancer David Hallberg trained with Kee Juan Han at The School of Ballet Arizona in Phoenix, he hasn’t forgotten his Arizona roots.

Recently Ballet Arizona announced the creation of The David Hallberg Scholarship Program for Boys. Applications for the 2013-14 school year will be available June 1.

Hallberg also has established scholarships outside Arizona, sometimes making financial gifts in addition to lending his name.

“It’s important that young boys who want to dance have access to good training,” says Hallberg. “Good training is the foundation for a successful career in dance.”

Before attending Arizona School for the Arts in Phoenix, Hallberg went to a public school that seemed to operate in “survival of the fittest” mode. “It was very Lord of the Flies,” he quips. “I never hid the fact that I wanted to dance,” says Hallberg. “I was a huge target.”

Today, Hallberg is a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre in New York City and the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow.

He’s kept in touch with 12-year-old Brandon Broeker of Phoenix, who takes classes four times a week at The School of Ballet Arizona, ever since a mutual friend introduced them last year.

Before settling on ballet, Brandon tried swimming, gymnastics, soccer, martial arts and several other sports, according to his mother, Beth Broeker. “Brandon likes the rigor and strict environment of ballet,” she says.

“I didn’t really want to do it at first,” recalls Brandon. He returned to sports after trying ballet for a while when he was 8 years old. Friends teased him, saying ballet was for girls. But Brandon learned that “a lot of other sports are sort of easy for me.”

Brandon tried ballet again when he was 10 years old. “It was different because there was another boy in the class,” says Brandon. “I felt more comfortable,” he says, “and I sort of fell in love with it.”

Some friends still think it’s not the right thing to do,” explains Brandon. “But others think it’s really cool.”

For other boys who might want to give it a try, Brandon has some advice: “Don’t argue with people who put you down for doing ballet. Just try to have fun with it.”

Learn more at balletaz.org.

Related Articles:

Boy finds inspiration in ballet

David Hallberg Inspires Scholarship

David Hallberg leaps from ABT to the Bolshoi

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