Shalymar Perez discovered ballet through a free after-school program offered at Herman Badillo Community School by Neglia Ballet Artists.
"In the future, I'd like to be able to help others the way Neglia has helped me," said the 14-year-old freshman at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts.
Shalymar recently played the role of lead goblin in Neglia's "Baba Yaga," performed in Rockwell Hall.
North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. committed $1,000 in funding for the Jose Neglia Scholarship Program, helping to pay for Shalymar's studies.
"I love ballet and especially love to perform," said Shalymar, who lives on Buffalo's West Side.
"It's a lot of work, but I always enjoy it. The scholarship program at Neglia Conservatory has given me a chance to develop a talent I didn't even know I had."
She is in the preprofessional dance division at the Neglia Conservatory, dancing 15 hours a week, in addition to rehearsals and performances with Neglia Ballet.
Besides her solo role in "Baba Yaga," Shalymar has appeared in other Neglia Ballet productions at Shea's Performing Arts Center and University at Buffalo Center for the Arts, including "Don Quixote," "Spartacus" and "Romeo and Juliet." She's also performed at Artpark with Neglia Ballet Artists and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
"Shalymar has a passion for ballet," said her mother, Karen Perez. "I've never heard her complain for having so many hours and days of practice. It's as if all the time in the world would not be enough to dedicate to ballet."
Heidi Halt, executive director at Neglia Ballet, pointed out that "it's exciting to see a gifted dancer like Shalymar get the chance to develop because our community and our leaders support her and support dance."
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