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Category Archives: News Story 2013

Nich­olas and Julian MacKay out­side the Bolshoi Theatre June 2013

By Graham Spicer
Gramilano.com
December 31, 2013

Dan­cing, like act­ing and singing, often runs in the fam­ily. There are count­less dan­cers whose par­ents danced: Zenaida Yanowsky (Royal Bal­let), Yury Yanowsky (Boston Bal­let) and Nadia Yanowsky (Het Nationale Bal­let) are the chil­dren of Rus­sian bal­let dan­cer Anatol Yanowsky and Span­ish bal­let dan­cer Car­men Robles. Ballet’s in their blood.

What makes the Khan-MacKay fam­ily spe­cial is that the four sib­lings – Maria Sascha, Nadia, Julian and Nich­olas — are not the chil­dren of dan­cers, nor do they come from Lon­don, Paris or New York, where trips to the bal­let can be reg­u­lar events, but are from Montana, the home of cow­boys and cattle, the Rock­ies and the Yel­low­stone National Park. Yet the fam­ily is now dis­persed around the globe train­ing and dan­cing, with Maria Sascha Khan at the Bay­erisches Staats­bal­lett in Munich, Nadia Khan with the Com­pañía Nacional de Danza in Spain, and the boys Julian MacKay and Nich­olas MacKay both train­ing at the Bolshoi Bal­let Academy. As elder sis­ter, Maria Sascha, asks, “I was born on the porch of the midwife’s log cabin, in Montana, USA. How do you get from there to an inter­na­tional career in ballet?”

Read more about Maria Sacha, Nadia, their brothers Julian and Nicholas and their parents: http://www.gramilano.com/2013/12/you-choose-it-out-of-love-dancing-with-the-khan-mackay-family/

Related Articles:

US Mom proud of sons at the Bolshoi Academy  3/2012

David Hallberg with Julian and Nicholas MacKay     11/2011

Young American Dancers at the Bolshoi Theatre  10/2011

From Bozeman to Bolshoi to the big screen  6/2011

Montana dancer performs with Bolshoi   6/2011

What is it like to be an American at the Bolshoi Academy?   6/2011

12-year-old dancer aces first year at Bolshoi Ballet Academy   6/2010

Ask the Dancers: Young Americans in Russia Respond  6/2010

Young Americans Embrace Rigors of the Bolshoi  5/2010

Julian MacKay, 12, makes history with the Bolshoi   3/2010

Love of ballet brings Berlin’s best to Bozeman   3/2010

Young Dancer to Study at Bolshoi   10/2009

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The Portland Ballet Blog
December 16, 2013

Devin with Lauren Lane, Goldberg Variations (photo by Blaine Covert)[Portland, Oregon, USA] – TPB is proud to present Devin Packard, one of our seniors for the 2013/14 Curriculum Year!

Devin is one of those amazing success stories you hear about from time to time. He started ballet late and after only being with us for two years, lands principal roles in our holiday productions: Prince Ivan in ‘Firebird’ and Cossack in ‘The Enchanted Toyshop.’ Devin has always had amazing stage presence. I picked him out of a large crowd of dancers in a performance of ‘West Side Story’ and other works at Dance West, the performing arm of his academic school, ACMA. In these two short years we have had Devin, his technique has soared and his partnering skills as well. Then to top that, he is tall and therefore a great partner for our taller ballerinas! I wish Devin much success as he follows his dreams after his graduation and know he will do well in life. Congratulations on a job well done! – Nancy Davis, Artistic Director

Read more about Devin: http://www.theportlandballet.org/BalletBlog/?p=1108

© Copyright 2013 The Portland Ballet.

Related Article: Siblings share the stage in The Portland Ballet’s ‘The Enchanted Toyshop’

The stage is shown from Nevada Ballet Theatre's 2012 production of The Nutcracker (Photo by Virginia Trudeau) 2013

By Carol Cling
Las Vegas Review-Journal
December 12, 2013

[Las Vegas, Nevada, USA] –  More than a century after its 1892 debut, “The Nutcracker” has become a treasured family tradition. Not just for the families in the audience, but for the families onstage.

As audiences marvel at Nevada Ballet Theatre’s extravagant production, which returns to The Smith Center on Saturday [December 14] for a 10-performance run, the “three-ring Gallagher circus” — as Jamey Gallagher describes it — will be helping to create the magic.

In “The Nutcracker’s” first act — set during a festive Christmas Eve gathering where the title object magically comes to life — Gallagher and his wife, Tara Foy, will be dancing — Gallagher as the grandfather and Foy as the mother of young Clara (danced by Betsy Lucas), whose fanciful experiences the ballet depicts.

Tara Foy Gallagher, left, and Jamey Gallagher, right, pose with their son, Sean, at the Nevada Ballet Theatre studios (Photo by Bill Hughes) 2013

Starting Wednesday, the Gallaghers’ 10-year-old son, Sean, will be dancing, too, as one of the young party guests. (He’s one of more than 150 children featured during the ballet’s 10 performances.)

Someday, Sean says, he’d like to portray Fritz, Clara’s impish brother. But at least he’s moving up in the “Nutcracker” world — his first “Nutcracker” role, at age 3, was as a dancing mouse.

The Gallaghers aren’t the only NBT “Nutcracker” family this year, however.

Jerry Nadal — senior vice president of Cirque du Soleil’s resident show division — is an NBT trustee; his partner, Gene Lubas (former artistic director for “Zarkana,” who teaches at NBT’s Academy) will play the role of Mother Ginger at some performances. And their twin sons, Harrison and Wilson Lubas-Nadal, appear in the party scene.

The Gallaghers’ connection with NBT’s “Nutcracker” stretches back to the beginning of the troupe’s four-decade history. Jamey, who choreographs and produces corporate shows, has been dancing with the company since the early ’80s, when it was known as Nevada Dance Theatre. And Tara — who teaches Las Vegas Academy students as well as NBT dancers — joined in 1987, when she arrived in Las Vegas from her native London.

Both also danced on the Strip — Tara in Siegfried and Roy’s long-running Mirage show and the Stardust’s “Enter the Night,” Jamey in Bally’s “Jubilee!” and the Tropicana’s “Folies Bergere,” the latter alongside Lauri Thompson, who’s an NBT trustee. (You can also catch Jamey, Tara and Thompson in the 1987 made-in-Vegas movie “Dance or Die.”)

“You were in a movie?” Sean asks his parents, clearly impressed.

For the fifth-grader, however, being onstage is “family fun stuff” — in part because his parents have “told me pretty much every story about ‘The Nutcracker.’ ”Including all the roles they’ve played — “almost like every part,” Sean says. Except that Tara’s never played Clara. “Next year,” she jokes.

Among Jamey’s roles: the Nutcracker Prince (danced this year by Braeden Barnes), who escorts Clara through a second-act winter wonderland populated by, among others, waltzing flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy. “You did that?” Sean asks his dad. (Clearly, he hasn’t heard every “Nutcracker” story.)

As for Sean’s own interest in dance, “with two dancing parents, it’s just sort of inevitable,” he says. Besides, Sean likes “learning the new steps,” along with “trying to figure out how to learn the combinations (of steps) and getting the turns perfect.”

This year’s “Nutcracker” features plenty of new steps for NBT dancers, according to artistic director James Canfield. Canfield estimates he’s choreographed “about 85 percent of it all over again” following last year’s initial production, overseeing changes to everything from the ballet’s narrative flow to its atmospheric lighting.

“When it’s on paper, it’s one thing,” Canfield says. “When it’s realized in front of you,” he adds, it’s easier to find “new ways to unfold the story.”

Performing Canfield’s new “Nutcracker” at The Smith Center last year was exciting, Sean says, because “the stage was much bigger” than the one in Paris Las Vegas’ Theatre Des Arts, “The Nutcracker’s” previous stage home. “We had to learn where all the wings were, and where the entrances were.”

Sean also remembers, before the performance, “just getting ready” and standing onstage with his parents, who “were wishing me good luck” while other kids’ parents were in the audience.

Tara describes the family’s onstage moments as “a dream come true — where else would you be able to perform together?” she asks. “It’s pretty incredible — you dream
about that. It’s so special, especially at Christmastime.”

Jamey and Tara are on every night throughout “The Nutcracker’s” run; Sean’s scheduled to go on Wednesday and return through the ballet’s second weekend. That includes some matinee-evening doubleheaders — which is just fine with Sean. “It’s fun to do two shows a day,” he says. “At afternoon, when it’s turning to night, I think, ‘I’m back!’ ”

In addition, Tara and Jamey spent years doing two shows a night on the Strip, so “sometimes one is a little anti-climactic,” Jamey observes.

Being in “The Nutcracker” year after year after year inspires a variety of “kooky pranks,” he acknowledges — including “making up lyrics” to the ballet’s classic Tchaikovsky score to add a bit of variety “when you’ve done it a couple hundred times.” Yet, “amazingly enough,” Jamey adds, each of NBT’s “Nutcrackers” has “been different enough over all the years” so “I kind of look at it as fresh and new” every time.

Recalling Nevada Dance Theatre’s “humble beginnings” (“we thought it was the greatest thing ever at the time,” he says) makes NBT’s current “Nutcracker” a vastly different experience. “It is very much a privilege to be a part of such an extravagant vision,” Jamey says. An extravagant vision that keeps evolving, Canfield adds.

In part, that’s because “we’re trying to attract newer audiences — and keep veteran audiences,” the choreographer says, promising that this year’s “Nutcracker” is “just going to be a little more magical.”

For Sean Gallagher, that magic revolves around just being onstage. “I like how it’s fun,” he says. “It’s fun being onstage because you can express yourself in so many different ways.”

Copyright ©2014 Stephens Media LLC

By Abigail Cukier
The Oakville Beaver
December 31, 2013

Cole Sweet, 11, attends Canada's National Ballet School 2013[Oakville, Ontario, Canada] – Cole Sweet took up ballet because his older sisters’ dance studio was offering free classes for boys. A couple of years later, he was accepted at Canada’s National Ballet School.

Sweet, who had been doing jazz, acro, tumbling and hip-hop since age eight, fell in love with ballet. “I liked the discipline of it,” says the 11-year-old Oakville native.

And that’s a good thing [ – because] at Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS), Cole’s day starts at 8:30 a.m. and includes academic classes and a two-hour ballet class. He has a 90-minute ballet class Saturday mornings and a one-hour conditioning class weekly.

He has been preparing for his part in The Nutcracker since September. Cole will dance the roles of a son in the family scene, as well as a courtier in another scene. The production continues at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts until Jan. 4.

In its 18th year, the holiday favourite features students from NBS’ part-time Associates Program and Teacher Training Program, as well as full-time students from the Professional Ballet Program. Since 2006, NBS students have been joined by more than 60 others from Toronto’s performing arts high schools in the battle scene.

Cole Sweet, centre, at Canada's National Ballet School (photo by Andrew Francis Wallace) 2013Boarding school has been a big change for Cole, who was home-schooled, but he knows he’s lucky. About 1,000 dancers audition in 15-20 Canadian cities, as well as through video auditions from around the world. About 150 make it to the second stage, which is spending four weeks at the school in the summer. Then, the school chooses 50 students. Cole began in September with a scholarship at the youngest age at which a student can be accepted.

Because of The Nutcracker rehearsals, Cole spends about 24 hours at home each weekend with his mom Myra, dad Todd and sisters Tyra, 18, Madison, 15, and Sierra, 13.

“We were not expecting our first child to move out would be our youngest,” his mom said. “When he started, we did not anticipate the National Ballet School. He started recreationally to get exercise. We never thought it would be a vocation, but it fell into place for him. All we can do is support him. The school is also very strong academically, so if ballet is not what he ends up doing, he will have a solid foundation.”

For now, Cole is enjoying it. Asked what he likes best about The Nutcracker, he says, “I like the sets, the costume, the dancing. It’s all really fun.”

© 2013 Copyright Metroland

Related Article: Boys breaking ballet stereotypes

By Melissa Murray
The Waterloo Chronicle
December 24, 2013

Michael Carvalho, 12, plays the title role in Ballet Jorgen's Nutcracker 2013[Waterloo, Ontario, Canada] – For 12-year-old Michael Carvalho, landing the title role in an upcoming holiday ballet production wasn’t a tough nut to crack. Carvalho is starring in Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s production of The Nutcracker as the male lead, which plays at the Centre in the Square at 7 p.m. on Dec. 28.

An episode of So You Think You Can Dance encouraged Carvalho to start dancing five years ago. It wasn’t one style of dance, he was inspired by it all. “I want to do that,” he told his mom Joanne after watching the show.

While the story line of the The Nutcracker is the same, and depicts a schoolgirl’s dream, this show is a bit different and features Canadian elements, including works by the Group of 7, Mounties and beavers.

Carvalho’s road to attaining the lead role began three years ago when he auditioned for the local cast of The Nutcracker and he was cast for the role of a chipmunk. The next year, he danced as a squirrel, which has “more intricate moves.”

Michael Carvalho, 12, as the Prince in Ballet Jorgen's Nutcracker (Observerxtra)But his biggest role yet will be dancing in five productions as one of three Nutcrackers in the touring cast of the popular Christmas story. He’ll dance alongside three different leading ladies playing Klara while the show tours.

And his family is excited to see him on the big stage now for the third time. “I love watching him perform and to see his progression to being the Nutcracker — I’m super proud,” said Joanne.

It’s an exciting time for Carvalho, who most looks forward to “just being able to perform and work with a professional ballet company.”

He auditioned for the part in September and since then has been thrown into a whirlwind of rehearsals and acting lessons, going back and forth to Toronto.

He’ll be playing alongside other dancers in the touring cast from around Ontario, including Niagara on the Lake, Kingston and Cambridge.

In total, 16 dancers from Waterloo Region will perform during the production.

Even though he’s landed the title role, he’s not finished with the Nutcracker. He anticipates auditioning next year as he builds a portfolio in dance in the hope that some day he’ll be paid to do what he loves.

“I would do it again. It’s really fun and a great experience,” he said.

Carvalho dances with In Motion Studio in Kitchener about four days a week as a competitive student in various genres of dance, including jazz, hip hop, Acro and ballet.

His ballet teacher, Miss Felicity, said she was overjoyed at the news of Carvalho playing the Nutcracker. “I was dancing around. I’m so happy for him,” she said. “He’s always full of life, ready to dance and willing to try anything new.”

Copyright © 2013 Metroland Media Group Ltd

The Idaszak brothers are home for Christmas (L-R) Daniel, John Paul and Alexander (News Ltd

By Ingrid Piper
The Daily Telegraph
December 24, 2013
[Edited]

[Rooty Hill, New South Wales, Australia] – John Paul, Alexander and Daniel are elite ballet stars and while Rooty Hill may seem an unusual place to foster such talent, the trio began their careers going to local jazz, tap and ballet classes as preschoolers.

Oldest brother John Paul (27), a member of the Australian Ballet, has called Melbourne home since he join the Australian Ballet School as a16-year-old. 2013 has been a big year for John Paul; he’s recently married and became a homeowner.

Alexander (20) spent 2013 as a member of the Queensland Ballet but joins the Royal New Zealand Ballet next month, where he’s looking forward to reuniting with his girlfriend. Being professional dancers means the brothers have lived away from their family since their mid-teens, so this get together is a rare treat.

“Coming home means home cooked meals and Mum’s delicious cooking and having the family around like my sister Yvonne and my nephews”, Alexander says.

The boys credit their parents Elizabeth and John for encouraging and supporting their careers. “Mum always flies in for when I do special roles. Recently, I was the Prince in Nutcracker and she got up at 4am to fly to Brisbane to see me perform in a matinee and then I didn’t even get to see her because she had to catch a plane home. I love having her in the audience, it give me a real boost. Dad loves it too, and he’s a man of very few words,” Alexander says.

Following in the footsteps of his two older brothers, youngest brother Daniel (17) is a student at the prestigious Australian Ballet School where John Paul keeps an eye on him.

The only boy in the family not to dance is Michael; he tried ballroom dancing but settled instead for a career as a plumber.

As the ground breaker, John Paul says his Rooty Hill school days were difficult. “I’m not going to say it was easy time in my life; it wasn’t until I moved to McDonald College in Strathfield that they accepted me for who and what I was doing. It was massive burden off my shoulders not having to go to school worrying about what other people were thinking,” John Paul says.

“All that verbal stuff was damaging but you push through because you know what you love, and you do what you love, who cares what anybody else thinks really. It’s funny to think that in this day and age now, where dance is so accepted everywhere you go, they’re even doing it at school, to think back then how critical everyone was,” he says.

As a teenager, Alexander thought about becoming an AFL football player but decided to follow in John Paul’s footsteps. “I didn’t get teased. No one could really tell I was a dancer and I didn’t really put it out there but I was always interested in sport so that helped.”

Surprisingly, the brothers have never danced together. “It would be a dream for all three of us to dance one day together, wouldn’t that be weird”, John Paul says.

But these holidays, for a few days at least, John Paul says it’ll be a ballet-free zone in Rooty Hill.

Copyright 2013 News Ltd

By Joanne Shuttleworth
Guelph Mercury
December 19, 2013

William Steers, 15, is the Nutcracker Prince in Ballet Jorgen's Nutcracker (photo by Joanne Shuttleworth) 2013[Guelph, Ontario, Canada] – Ballet Jorgen’s The Nutcracker — A Canadian Tradition is quickly becoming a Guelph tradition as the Toronto dance company has performed in Guelph just before Christmas for several years running.

This year a Guelph youth, William Steers, won the coveted role of the Nutcracker Prince.  William, 15, said he didn’t really enjoy ballet when he started taking lessons as a youngster. So he studied other forms of dance — hip hop, tap and Irish dancing — before returning to ballet.

It didn’t hurt seeing Billy Elliott performed on stage in Toronto a few years back, he said. “I fell in love with the dancing,” said William in an interview at his Guelph home. “I saw a clip of Riverdance and I fell in love with that, too. I started to think about dance as a possible career and realized I would have to have ballet again. So I’ve been doing that for two years and I love it now, too.

“It’s challenging. My posture can be off. But eventually I will be good at it, I think.”

William attends Eastwood Collegiate Institute in Kitchener and takes the specialized arts program where he studies dance, singing and acting.

He went to a local cast audition for The Nutcracker where it was suggested he audition for a part in the touring cast. “Getting this role is great,” he said. “And it’s such good experience to work with a professional company. I watch the professional dancers and it’s mesmerizing.”

Most people are familiar with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s original version of The Nutcracker that was first performed in 1892.  It’s the story of a family and friends who gather on Christmas Eve to trim the tree. Gifts are exchanged and Clara, the daughter, receives a nutcracker. Her brother Fritz is jealous and breaks the nutcracker. Clara is crushed.

At midnight, after the adults have left the scene, Clara goes back to check on her nutcracker and a wonderfully bizarre scene ensues. The nutcracker grows to life-size, the Christmas tree becomes enormous, mice start scurrying around and eventually there’s a battle between the mice, led by the Mouse King, and the gingerbread men, led by the Nutcracker.

After the battle, the Nutcracker turns into a prince and he and Clara roam through the forest where they witness dancing snowflakes and a celebration of dancing sweets from around the world. They return home before daybreak and Clara settles in to sleep, only to realize in the morning that the whole thing was a dream.

Ballet Jorgen kept the music, but moved the story to a Canadian setting. Instead of dancing candies and teas and sugar plums, there are beavers, frogs and dragonflies. Paintings by three of the Group of Seven artists are used as backdrops and set the stage for the raging battle and the wilderness adventure.

Ballet Jorgen is a professional adult company and they audition local dancers for the children’s roles. The major children’s roles, which include Klara and the Nutcracker Prince, join the touring cast. William will perform in Guelph Dec. 22 and 23, but also in Brockville, Ottawa and Kingston.

He won a role in Ballet Jorgen’s Swan Lake when it came to Guelph last year, but was only on stage for two minutes. The Nutcracker Prince is considerably larger and William will be on stage for the entire ballet.

“The quality of training is superb,” said his mother Judy Steers. “It’s busy and it’s hard, but the experience is so worth it.”

“It gets me thinking about my future and what it will be like to be a dancer,” William said.

Clea Iveson, education manager for Ballet Jorgen, said most of the dancers in the company would have performed in The Nutcracker when they were children, so they understand and appreciate the excitement of the young dancers. “The sparkles in the eyes of the kids, making it through auditions, stepping into the costumes, working with the professional company — there’s nothing like it,” Iveson said.

She said working with Royal City School of Ballet, the local dance company that runs rehearsals for the local cast, is easy since they’ve done it so many times. “It’s a well-oiled machine in Guelph,” she said.

“We bring it to Guelph because it’s a lovely theatre and the community is culturally engaged,” said Carolynn Clark, spokesperson for the presenter Live at the Hippo Pool Events Inc. “We have a strong response every year.

“And it’s such a hopeful, joy-filled work that’s visually and musically beautiful. I think adults delight in the curiosity we had as kids. For many families, seeing the Nutcracker is part of a seasonal tradition.”

© Copyright 2014 Metroland

Anthony Paiva, age 10, is playing Fritz in the Richmond Ballet's Nutcracker this year, father Terry Paiva played Fritz when he was young (photo by Alexa Welch Edlund) 2013

By Bill Lohmann
Richmond Times-Dispatch
December 12, 2013

[Richmond, Virginia, USA] – “The Nutcracker” is indisputably a holiday tradition. For the Paivas, it’s also a family tradition. In this year’s Richmond Ballet production, 10-year-old Anthony Paiva is one of the dancers playing the role of Fritz — almost four decades after his father, Terry, performed the role for Richmond audiences.

“It’s awesome,” Anthony said.

“I think he’ll enjoy himself,” his dad said, “and I think it will bring back a lot of memories for me.”

Stoner Winslett’s “The Nutcracker” will run Saturday through Dec. 23 at the Carpenter Theatre at Richmond CenterStage. The two-hour production will feature the company’s full roster of professionals, as well as 26 trainees and more than 150 students from The School of Richmond Ballet. Two casts share duties for the 13 performances. The Richmond Symphony will perform Peter Tchaikovsky’s score.

In the story, Fritz is the rambunctious boy who jealously breaks his sister Clara’s favorite Christmas gift: a nutcracker. Anthony said wrestling for the nutcracker is probably his favorite part, though he added, “I also like pushing Clara.”

The production includes two Paivas: Anthony and his 14-year-old sister, Audrey, who is making her fifth appearance in the show. This is Anthony’s first year in the production.

In fact, like his son, Terry followed his older sister into the world of ballet. His sister, Jan, danced and frequently appeared in productions of “The Nutcracker,” and as long as he was tagging along to her classes, he recalled with a laugh, his mother, Jackie, apparently thought, “Instead of just sitting there. …”

He enrolled in his first ballet class when he was 4. Then, an even funnier thing happened: He enjoyed it. “I seemed to take to it pretty well,” said Terry, now an architect who said the agility he developed in dance remains with him. “I can’t say it came naturally, but I was able to catch on pretty quickly. “And all of a sudden I guess I discovered, ‘I’m the only boy with all these girls! I could get used to that.’”

Anthony began taking ballet classes when he was 3 and moved to The School of Richmond Ballet at age 5. He grew up watching his sister dance, hearing about his dad and being encouraged by his grandmother, who was a longtime volunteer, board member and registrar for the Richmond Ballet. Jackie Paiva died in early November at age 92, but had been pleased to learn that her grandson had been selected for the role of Fritz and would follow in his father’s footsteps in “The Nutcracker.” “She was very excited,” Terry said.

She also would be excited to know how much Anthony enjoys ballet. “For me, it just keeps getting better and better,” he said, noting that he loves the bright lights that come with performing before an audience, but he even enjoys rehearsals because you’re allowed to “laugh more” than when on stage. “As you learn more steps and it gets more complicated, it gets more fun after that.”

Anthony is a fifth-grader at Richmond’s Mary Munford Elementary, where he is a student of John Bennett, whom he described as “the best teacher ever.” As for reasons, Anthony mentioned firing rockets and learning guitar. He also stays busy playing violin and soccer.

Terry performed in “The Nutcracker” in the days before the Richmond Ballet became a professional company, and he acknowledged that Anthony is dancing in a far higher-budget, more elaborate production. Another difference: Anthony is not subject to nearly as much teasing as he experienced in the 1960s and 1970s as a boy participating in ballet.

There was a lot of name-calling, which he tried to ignore, but one time his middle-school principal had to intervene when a schoolmate became particularly obnoxious. “I believe it was a time of conformity when boys were supposed to do this and girls that,” he said. “So when someone was doing something different, people were more apt to look at it negatively. I like to believe we are moving away from that way of thinking, which hopefully is contributing to the greater tolerance Anthony has experienced.”

Terry danced until he was 16, deciding he wanted to pursue other activities and look ahead to college and the rest of his life. Still, he fondly recalls the friends he made in ballet who “were maybe the most important thing that kept me involved.”

“It was — and I’m sure still is — a ‘family,’ and that feeling of belonging to something was very strong,” he said. “Habits were formed and lessons were learned that helped you later, even if you may not have realized it at the time.”

Anthony said his classmates think it’s “cool” that he’s in “The Nutcracker,” and he has no plans to stop dancing. “I want to be in the (professional) company,” he said matter-of-factly.

Copyright 2013 Richmond Times Dispatch

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