Neglia Ballet Artists, in partnership with TargetCancer, a cancer research foundation, will be presenting a special benefit performance called “Dancing To Live” next Thursday at Nichols School. Four young area dancers have been selected to join the performance.
The participating students are Ben Reading, of City Honors; Yuha Tomita, of Buffalo Seminary; Stephanie Waite, of Grimsby, Ont.; and Rorey Fraser (home-schooled), of Buffalo. These four Pre-Professional Conservatory students maintain the difficult balance between managing their studies and the hours required to dance with Neglia.
Ben, a junior, has been dancing with the company since he was “six or seven.” He said he can’t really remember when the hours of waiting in the hall for his and Rorey’s sisters transcended into the two boys taking a class themselves.
All four students spoke fondly about their beginnings at Neglia, and discussed the opportunities the school has allowed them.
For some, those opportunities have meant spending hours in the car. Stephanie, a freshman, commutes to the studio six days a week from Canada. In addition to the daily border crossing, Stephanie also takes classes at a studio in Canada.
“I do a lot of my homework in the car,” she said.
“I do everything in the car,” said Yuha, a sophomore exchange student from Japan. She first came to Neglia to participate in its summer intensive program, and opted to continue her study of dance at the Conservatory. She said sometimes it is a challenge to be a student and a committed dancer, “especially because of all of the English.”
Ben, a full International Baccalaureate diploma candidate, also noted the time management needed to be a successful student and dancer.
Maintaining the balance is a bit easier for Rorey, who is home-schooled. He said his studies and dance schedule rarely intersect, which provides a stress-free environment.
Regardless, these students spend 16-plus hours each week in the studio, preparing for shows and perfecting their technique.
The foursome is thrilled to be participating in next week’s event, which features internationally acclaimed dancers. Additionally, the students will be performing a contemporary piece, one that differs greatly from their usual ballet repertoire.
Ben, who will be partnering with Stephanie, noted that he was “very happy to be included” in an event of this caliber.
The event will take place at 6 p.m. next Thursday in the Flickinger Performing Arts Center, 1250 Amherst St. Proceeds will go toward TargetCancer’s research efforts and Neglia’s CityDance Education Outreach Program.
Lillian Kahris is a junior at City Honors.