This summer will not be a time for fun in the sun for everyone.
Nine dancers in the Crooked Tree Arts Center's pre-professional ballet program will be spending their summer dancing, dancing and more dancing. Years of hard work has paid off in their acceptance to various renowned summer dance programs across the country.
We're impressed with the level of talent these dancers possess and with the dedication and hard work that goes into training. They have worked incredibly hard, under the skillful guidance of Crooked Tree instructor, Heather Raue, to achieve this opportunity of studying in some of the country's best summer intensives.
The dancers, ranging in age from 13 to 23, spent January and February traveling to and from Chicago for auditions hosted by the finest summer ballet programs in the country.
"I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago with the dancers this year, and was proud to watch them enter and leave their auditions with such confidence and professionalism," said Raue. "Upon viewing portions of their auditions, I was pleased to observe them standing out magnificently."
The pre-professional program at Crooked Tree has such an outstanding reputation that Kevin Iega Jeff, artistic director of Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre in Chicago, makes a trip to Petoskey every March to hold auditions. Crooked Tree has been one of Deeply Rooted's audition sites for several years, often times serving as the only audition venue in Michigan.
Dancers and where they will be studying this summer are:
— Ireland Adgate, age 14, Boyne Falls, School of American Ballet, New York City
— Benjamin Cheney, age 23, Petoskey, Deeply Rooted Productions, Chicago
— Emily McGeehan, age 13, Petoskey, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh
— Jeremiah McGeorge, age 21, Boyne City, Deeply Rooted Productions, Chicago
-- Michael Menghini, age 14, St. Ignace, merit scholarship Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, Washington, D.C.
— Marie Millard, age 13, Indian River, full merit scholarship School of American Ballet, New York City
— Zoey Reager, age 16, Petoskey, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, San Francisco
— Julianne Richey, age 19, Petoskey, Deeply Rooted Productions, Chicago
-- Bri Wilson, age 16, Petoskey, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Pittsburgh
"Our dancers are excelling nationally year after year," said Raue. "As an example, Suzanne Farrell accepts 25 dancers to train at the Kennedy Center each summer."
Michael Menghini is the second Crooked Tree dancer to have been chosen for the prestigious Farrell program in Washington, D.C.
All of these young dancers are outstanding examples of dedication, professionalism and talent.
You can lend your financial support to the Crooked Tree Arts Center pre-professional dance program by donating to the Crooked Tree Arts Center Dance Scholarship Fund which assists local dancers with the cost of tuition and housing. For more information, contact the arts center at (231) 347-4337 or www.crookedtree.org.