PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (CBS) – The Pennsylvania Ballet is in its last days of rehearsal, preparing to open “Swan Lake” this Thursday at the Academy of Music. But today, watching from the edge of the studio was an 11- year-old girl from Horsham.
She loves the ballet and has dreams of her own.
The familiar score of “Swan Lake” filled the cavernous studio in East Falls. As the dancers twirled, Ashley Nemchinov’s eyes never strayed. For an hour, this fifth grader studied every arm extension, every lift on pointe.
As Ashley’s mind sees her future, she wants to dance.
“I love dance; it’s my life,” she says.
Today, Ashley immersed herself in her love, watching the rehearsal for the Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of “Swan Lake,” running March 3-12.
“When I was five or six, me and my grandma went to see the Pennsylvania Ballet,” says Ashley with a smile. “And it was an experience of a lifetime.”
Until now. As a class assignment, Ashley wrote a letter to the dancers of the Pa. Ballet. Their response? An invitation to meet the lead dancer of “Swan Lake,” 25-year-old Lauren Fadeley.
“She’s such a wonderful girl,” says Lauren. “She is so inspired by dancing that it renews my inspiration for dancing as well.”
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Sitting on the floor of the rehearsal studio, they chatted the language of ballet. Ashley told Lauren about the long hallway in school, and how she does chaines turns, a series of rapid, traveling turns on demi-pointe, down the hallway. Lauren understood—sometimes you just have to dance.
“When I was her age, ‘Swan Lake’ was my favorite ballet,” says Lauren, “And I was just excited to be dancing in the chorus. If you dream, a big dream, it may happen.”
Ballet is rigorous discipline. Ashley worked with Lauren on her plies and releves, as she locked in her vision of becoming a professional ballerina.
“Dreams can come true, if you really go for it…if you really believe in it …and if your heart is into it,” Ashley says wisely.
Now, ballerina, you just have to dance.
“Swan Lake” runs from March 3-12 at the Academy of Music. For tickets, go to www.paballet.org.
Reported by Pat Ciarrocchi, CBS 3