This project is for funding summer intensive training and a surgery to continue dancing while still providing a product back for you!!
The Video above is Emily Gay and me dancing the Nutcracker Pas de Deux at Denver Academy of Ballet's Nutcracker: A Suite of Sorts. This is almost exactly two years since I began dancing and about 1 and a half years since I began seriously training to be a professional.
When I was in junior high, three years ago, I weighed 250 pounds. I was unhappy, and I felt stuck in a body that didn't feel like my own. It was in 8th grade that I decided to change this. I did it on my own. Diet and exercise were the key. I lost 90 pounds. Sometimes it didn't go too well, and even now I struggle at times, but losing that weight was like shedding a skin.
Now I'm 17. And since that dark time three years ago, I've continued to focus on fitness as a huge aspect of my life. It was through this love of fitness that I found ballet.
Below are two pictures of me: who I used to be and who I am now. The first is admittedly unflattering but it is the reality of the life I was living.
I watched the movie Black Swan with my mother when I was 14, and shortly thereafter I stumbled across a local dance studio that offered classes for beginners. I had grown tired of running as my only form of exercise and decided to drop in on a few classes.
Immediately I was in love. The physicality and challenge of aligning my body with music was as thrilling as it was daunting. I devoured each class until I needed to attend more than two times a week. I began going or five days a week and taking some private lessons on the side about six months after I started. I then decided to make the leap into the deep end, and started going six days a week with more frequent private classes as well.
I was blessed to find a place that valued me as an individual as well as as a dancer, and they saw the potential that I had. My instructors worked with me in ways that fit into our family's budget, and the people at the studio have become as close as family to me.
The teachers at Denver Academy of Ballet prepared me for my first summer intensive program last year. I received scholarship for six weeks of training in Austin, Texas, with Ballet Austin. The time in Austin not only made me a better dancer, but also showed me that ballet is my future.
This more recent audition season has provided me with many options, as well as scholarships for summer programs. I have chosen to attend the five week Next Generation Ballet Summer Intensive with Peter Stark in Tampa, Florida as well as a 2-week program in Jacksonville, Florida through The Orlando Ballet School.
However, some issues have arisen through my love for ballet. I have further developed a bump on my hip bone that's become intolerably painful, and which needs to be resolved with surgery in order for me to continue dancing. Also, I need to get as much training in as I can while still giving myself enough time to heal.
This is where a delicate balance must be struck, and I need some help with funding in order to complete all that I need to do with a focus on my training as well as my overall health.
Because this is all happening so fast, I have not had time to prepare financially for the costs of summer intensives as well as the costs of a surgery which will keep me off my feet for weeks. I need to get the surgery as fast as possible, but also need to be able to fund my summer in Florida.
This is where you come in. By funding my project you will be providing money that will go directly to my surgery and its related costs (i.e., the cost of the surgery, physical therapy, time off work) as well as the costs of the summer intensives I will be attending. These costs include multiple plane tickets, tuition that's not covered by scholarships, room and board, cost of living in a new state for 7 weeks.
What You Receive in Return:
I view the funding of my career in dance as a very personal and meaningful investment in my future, and want to thank you in as personal of ways as I can. These are explained more throughly in the donation section, but include frequent updates on my time with Peter Stark at Next Generation Ballet and the Orlando Ballet School, as well as dinners with me and ballet classes with me at the studio that helped change my life. If you have any further questions regarding any of the above information please leave a comment or send me a message!
Risks and challenges
The risk with my project is that my surgery may not come soon enough to allow me to go to both summer programs. This is not ideal by any means but will not limit the amount I do for everyone who supports me along the way. If it limits my dancing in any other significant ways I will continue to provide updates as well as video of dancing as soon as it comes into my possession