Julia Waldow, Print Arts & Style Editor
Like most high schoolers occupying their time with studying, extracurriculars and SAT preparation, junior Ysabella Del Rosario looks for a way to release the tension of the school day. To this ambitious student, dance provides the perfect therapy.
Del Rosario’s interest in dance piqued when she saw her sisters leap and twirl in a performance of “The Nutcracker” at Beverly in 2005. Initially jealous of her sisters’ experiences, Del Rosario used her feelings as motivation for starting her own dance career. She soon fell in love with the activity.
“Dance is an interesting and physical activity, so it’s an art and a sport in one,” Del Rosario said. “It’s physically demanding like a sport, but you have to be graceful and present it like an art.”
Del Rosario commits herself to perfecting this art every day of the week. The dedicated dancer sweeps across the floor for ten hours on the weekdays and four and a half hours on the weekends at Marat Daukayev School of Ballet. Although she explores different styles, including contemporary and Pas de Deux (a partner dance), Del Rosario prefers ballet.
“I don’t like being too free in movements,” Del Rosario said. “I like ballet’s structure and choreography.”
Del Rosario got her big break in her first show, “Sleeping Beauty,” at the Japan America Theater in Downtown Los Angeles in 2005. After this, her career gathered speed, landing the young dancer the opportunity to dance with professionals. After a Korean dance company contacted Del Rosario’s ballet teacher, “a bigwig in Russian ballet,” in 2006, Del Rosario and a couple other students danced in “The Nutcracker” at the Shrine.
“It was really fun to work with professionals,” Del Rosario said. “They’re so passionate about dance.”
In her seven-year career, Del Rosario has attended two regional competitions in Huntington Beach in 2009 and 2011. In addition, she performed in the 2009 Youth America Grand Prix in New York. While at the national competition, Del Rosario took notice of other talented dancers and became motivated to work even harder to get to their levels.
“They were so devoted and really good,” Del Rosario exclaimed. “I wanted to get a lot better, and seeing them made me more passionate [to dance] so I could be like them.”
Del Rosario’s hard work paid off. In Dec. 2011, she snagged the role as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Marat Daukeyev Ballet Theater’s production of “The Nutcracker.”
“I went to the studio every day for two to three hours,” Del Rosario explained. “It was hard work. I took a summer intensive program to prepare. A month later, we had our auditions, which are usually pre-cast. After I got the part, we worked on choreography.”
Throughout her years at the studio, Del Rosario has learned important lessons about both dancing and life.
“My teachers have taught me that nothing in life comes without hard work and dedication,” she said. “They have taught me discipline as well as proper manners in a ballet class.”
Although her experiences in shows have all been different, Del Rosario’s favorite parts of her sport remain the same.
“I love the performances and the dress rehearsals until nine at night,” Del Rosario gushed. “I enjoy being with my dance friends. Performing onstage is nerve-wracking but fun.”
Del Rosario’s career is not limited only to the stage as she will play a background dancer in ABC Family’s new show “Bunheads,” which is set to premiere in June. The show, which was created by “Gilmore Girls” creator Amy Sherman Palladino and stars Broadway actress Sutton Foster, is about an older Las Vegas showgirl who restarts her dance career at her mother-in-law’s ballet studio. Del Rosario first heard about the show when a dance studio alumna’s father, a former director/producer of “Gilmore Girls,” asked Del Rosario’s teacher if any students would be interested in the job.
“There were lots of cameras and lights,” Del Rosario recalled of her first acting experience. “We filmed in Malibu in November for the pilot. Also, Brad, the piano player from ‘Glee,’ was there. It was so exciting!”
With local and professional shows and a television credit under her belt, Del Rosario is not stopping dancing anytime soon.
“I’m going to keep doing it,” she explained. “I want to keep dancing my entire life, just not as a professional because once you’re 35, you’re considered an old dancer. I’m planning on being a doctor along the lines of pediatrics, but I’m still keeping my options open.”
The passionate 17-year-old ballerina still has plenty of time to live out her dreams, and she is not sacrificing a minute of it. After all, isn’t perseverance the “pointe” of the sport?