Wednesday, May 12, 2010

BalletMet: Pre-Professional Students, Faculty, and the YAGP

Two of BalletMet's Pre-Professional students, Elizabeth Stack and Sofia Saari, placed in the top 20 dancers at the Youth of America Grand Prix (YAGP) Senior Division in March. The YAGP is an international student ballet and contemporary dance scholarship competition that is open to dancers ages nine to nineteen. How did these BalletMet students prepare for this competition? Who at BalletMet helped them? Glad you asked!

Susan Dromisky, one of BalletMet's full-time ballet teachers, assisted the dancers in training for the competition. Susan began dancing at age six, but her dance story is unlike that of most dancers. She describes her entrance into the dance world as a "fluke." Although dance was something that she fell into, Susan truly excelled in it. She fell in love with the hard work, sweat, and striving nature of ballet. With her years of experience and knowledge of dance, Susan was a great asset to the dancers as they geared up for the YAGP.

"The students have only a minute to present themselves and all the skills they have accumulated up until that point to the judges, " says Susan. Therefore, it is important that the dancers are prepared and at their best the day of competition. Competitions require extra work from both BalletMet students and staff. The number of hours devoted to preparing for the competition depends on both the competition and the student competing. BalletMet faculty and dancers must squeeze in extra practice around scheduled classes. The students are also responsible for working on their pieces individually.

Dance competitors are asked to chose two pieces from a repertoire list distributed by the specific competition. BalletMet's Artistic Director and Faculty then collaborate to pick which pieces from the list will be performed. Elizabeth Stack danced two classical variations at the YAGP, The Sleeping Beauty and Walpurgis Nacht. When asked about her performance, Elizabeth explained that BalletMet was the first dance academy she has been a part of that has paid special attention to artistic expression. She attributes much of her personal improvement over the past year to this. Elizabeth has been dancing since she was four years old and watched The Nutcracker on PBS with her mother. As part of her training as a dancer, Elizabeth values the knowledge and experience that she has gained through competitions such as the YAGP.

Susan Dromisky sees the goal of BalletMet's Faculty as assisting the students in becoming well-rounded dancers. In addition to the day-to-day instruction dancers receive at BalletMet's Dance Academy, preparing for competitions and being evaluated by judges is just another way that BalletMet pushes its dancers to excel.

All of BalletMet's Pre-Professional students, along with academy students ages seven and up, will be dancing at the year-end performances in the beginning of June. These performances will show family and friends what BalletMet student dancers have learned the past year through both academic instruction and involvement in competitions.

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