For two Holy Family Catholic School ballet dancers, it’s never too early to have high hopes.
Madison Taberham, a 10-year-old dancer at Orlando Ballet School, dreams she will move to New York, perform in the Nutcracker and dance professionally. But if her Big Apple dreams don’t pan out, that’s OK. She has plenty of opportunities to dance professionally through Orlando Ballet.
Her classmate, 11-year-old Jaslyn Peralta, dreams of New York also, but she hopes her dancing abilities will land her on Broadway. Ultimately, she sees herself helping kids — like she is now — succeed at dancing and competitions.
These aren’t just girls with ambitious dreams. They’re already putting in the hours to improve their dancing abilities.
“It’s important to know that these kids are incredibly dedicated,” said Marion Tonner, principal of Orlando Ballet’s south school, where Madison and Jaslyn train, often five or six days per week.
Madison was swimming competitively for several years, but she knew that one day she would have to choose between swimming and ballet. When that day came, though she enjoyed swimming, her choice came easily: Ballet was her passion. She always looks forward to going to the dance studio.
“If I’m in a bad mood or had a rough day, I come to ballet and forget all about it,” Madison said.
Her dedication has paid off, with the opening of several new opportunities. Madison is getting ready to go on pointe shoes for the first time. Recently, she submitted video auditions for summer intensive programs around the country and was accepted into all three: the American Ballet, Joffrey Ballet and Gelsey Kirkland. She decided to attend American Ballet Theatre in New York this summer, where she will take classes under some of the best of the field.
Jaslyn, who has been on pointe shoes for almost two years, was approached by her dance instructors in 2015, whom told her she would be attending the American Dance Competition in Daytona Beach. This is a prestigious competition, and the Orlando Ballet School selects only a handful of students from across the three campuses of nearly 800 students.
Jaslyn was surprised to be selected. But for the past two years, she has fared well in competition, earning a gold score and finishing in 12th place this year.
“When they called my score the first year, I was so excited,” Jaslyn said. “It was my first year dancing solo with just me on stage, and I was really proud of myself.”
SCHOOL AND DANCE COLLIDE
Both girls attend Holy Family Catholic School, where the faculty and staff have expressed support for their dancing endeavors. Because of Madison’s high grades and dedication to dance, the school allows her to leave early a couple days a week to attend the Orlando Ballet School Academy, where she receives more one-on-one training.
When longtime pastor Monsignor William Ennis retired from Holy Family Catholic, Madison danced before the school at his retirement celebration. Jaslyn and Madison both had the opportunity to dance at a school talent show.
“Madison and Jaslyn are exceptional children,” said Sister Dorothy Sayers, principal of Holy Family Catholic School. “Their dedication and commitment to dance is extraordinary at such a tender age. I know they will go far in their dance careers and in their lives as young women.”
Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected]