Gwinnett Ballet Theatre dancers facing high stakes

Three dancers from the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre are facing high stakes in the upcoming month.

Abigrace Diprima, Kendall Greene, and Bianca Melidor, all pre-professional trainees of the Theatre, have to prepare not only for a performance of "Giselle," but also for a classical variation and modern solo for the Southeastern Semifinals. The semifinals, held by the Youth America Grand Prix, are taking place March 1-3 at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. The performance of "Giselle" is on March 30.

However, instead of stress, the dancers are preparing the upcoming events with optimism. Abigrace, a homeschooler and competition veteran, looks at the constant rehearsals as a chance to better herself as a dancer.

"I believe YAGP allows me to become a better dancer technically and artistically ... I never approached it in a competitive way but as an opportunity to better my dancing though the great coaching I have received," Diprima said.

While rehearsals are tiring, the dancers agree that the events can both be done.

"YAGP rehearsals focus on making the choreography as perfect as possible. Preparing for 'Giselle' is preparing for a different type of audience," said Greene, a Brookwood High School senior.

Melidor, a junior from Mill Creek High School, is facing her first competition with a few more nerves. This has not stopped her from looking at the upcoming events in a positive light, as she is "excited to learn from new instructors and make plenty of new friends."

The best friends are all honor students preparing for a professional dance career. While they are all performing to the best of their ability, Diprima said that it "is a standard for myself, not competition with them. Preparing for the YAGP this year has offered me a new camaraderie that I have never felt before."