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Local students dance into ballet programs

Local students dance into ballet programs
(Courtesy of the Red Chair School of Performing Arts)

Students of the Red Chair School of Performing Arts have been accepted to summer intensive ballet programs across the United States and for the first time, one Red Chair student is going to Russia.

Those accepted are Elizabeth Briggs, Ryan Sinton, Emily Anasti, Rose Filichia, Lena Harris, Rebecca Levin, Haley Briggs, Layton Briggs, Emma Casali, Josie Nivar, Leah Perez, Brooke Sinton, Penny Yokas and Molly-Jo Terry.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Briggs, a junior at Burbank High School, was also selected. She will attend the Joffrey Bolshoi Exchange Program in Moscow.

This is the second year for the program. Just 10 dancers from the United States were chosen from auditions around the country to attend the Bolshoi program, said Jennifer Bosco, artistic director, American Ballet Theatre affiliate ballet teacher, and co-owner of the Red Chair School. Founded in 1776, the Bolshoi is one of the oldest and most renowned ballet companies in the world, she added.


Lizzy has been dancing for 12 years. Her rigorous dance schedule includes 15 hours a week at the Red Chair School and another 10 hours a week of practice with the Burbank High Dance Team.

To help cover the costs for the summer programs, Lizzy’s church hosted a fundraiser dinner in May. Lizzy also was able to use money she earned for her Girl Scout troop through cookie sales toward the programs.

Summer intensive ballet programs are often affiliated with professional dance companies such as the American Ballet Theatre or the Joffrey Ballet. Students work on their dance technique and learn other dance styles with professional and amateur dancers. Each dancer must compete with other students for acceptance into these programs in national and international auditions.

In just two years, the number of Red Chair ballet students accepted into these competitive programs has tripled, Bosco said.


“We are extremely proud to see so many of our hard-working and talented ballet students attend a variety of summer intensive programs,” she said.

Burroughs wins national civic honor

John Burroughs High School was the winner of the Junior State of America’s fifth annual National Civic Impact Award.

The award, presented in June, recognizes the JSA chapter that has had the most impact on increasing the level of civic awareness and engagement at its school. Burroughs was chosen from among the nine finalists, each of which had won the “Chapter of the Year Award” in its area of the country.

“What impressed me most was Burroughs’ robust speaker’s program that coordinated visits to the campus by elected officials from every level of government, including Congressman Adam Schiff,” said Jeff Harris, chief executive officer of the Junior Statesmen Foundation, which sponsors the award.

The Burroughs chapter will receive a $2,000 grant that will be used to continue the chapter’s civic engagement programs in the upcoming year, a $500 stipend reward to the chapter’s teacher/advisor, and a plaque.

“I am continually impressed with the dedication and ability of the young men and women of Burroughs JSA,” said David Knatcal, Burroughs’ JSA teacher/advisor. “Never once have they said ‘someone should do something.’ They have always just done. I am proud to be working with today’s JSA leaders as they make their way to be tomorrow’s world leaders.”

Students serving summer internships


Students from Glendale and Burbank were accepted to the Armenian National Committee of America - Glendale’s Summer Internship Program. Participating in the 12-week program are Sevag Alexanian, Alique Berberian, Tatevik Manucharyan, Pauline Pechakjian and Gevork Terzyan.

They will complete several projects concerning civic engagement, educational policies and programs and will collaborate to organize various community forums.

JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at