Bravo to the Next Generation Ballet dancers who performed at two different galas over the weekend!
Hannah Bettes performed at the Young Stars of Ballet Gala in Indianapolis, and Kemper Cassada, Hannah Stanford and William Dugan performed at the International Ballet Festival of Miami.
“I’ve never done a gala before. It was a really good experience,” said Cassada, 13, of Jacksonville.
“You meet new people, and international dancers,” he said. “You’re there to show off what you’ve done the previous year, and you get to see other dancers who’ve won finals in New York.”
Cassada recently moved to the Tampa area with his mother and sister in order to work with Peter Stark as an NGB trainee at the Patel Conservatory. His dad visits on weekends when he can.
Cassada gets up at 7 a.m. every morning and does schoolwork, then gets to the Patel Conservatory at 11 a.m. to train all day five days a week. It’s a rigorous schedule, but this well-spoken young dancer enjoys the challenge.
When he wasn’t training with Stark, “I was not to the level where I wanted to be...it wasn’t hard enough,” said Cassada. “The thing I enjoy most about being here is taking class with all the instructors.”
He appreciates their different styles of teaching, he said.
For the gala, Kemper performed a contemporary ballet piece choreographed by Jeffrey Cirio over the summer for the NGB summer intensive showcase.
The experience of meeting other accomplished dancers and watching award-winning performances was both inspirational and motivating for all who attended.
"The gala was an amazing experience,” agreed Hannah Stanford. “I was honored to perform with so many talented dancers."