Dancer makes ‘pointe,’ takes position as trainee for professional ballet company

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Photo courtesy of: Elizabeth del Rosario

Jamie Kim staff writer

Her eyes were fixated on the screen as she was entranced by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s ballet party in the movie, “You’re Invited to Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Ballet Party.” This moment 12 years ago defined the beginning of a dream she would never cease to chase.

In January of 2016, senior Elizabeth “Lizzie” del Rosario will be moving to Salt Lake City, Utah, to train with the professional dance company Ballet West. Having been dancing for almost her entire life, del Rosario was initially motivated by her mother, in addition to watching the Mary Kate and Ashley movie.

“I started dancing when I was five. I watched a Mary Kate and Ashley ballet party video, and I said, ‘I want to be one of those dancers.’ My mom was also a dancer when she was really young, but she got scoliosis. I said that I want to be like my mom, as like every other girl. My ballet teachers motivated me too because they said that dance is an art form, not a sport. Your body is art, and that really just stuck to me,” del Rosario said.

Currently, she practices two to three hours a day for six days a week. Through this constant training, del Rosario had the opportunity to dance in, what she called, one of the most unforgettable experiences.

“My most memorable moment in my career, as of right now, would be dancing at the Getty. I performed with the UCLA orchestra. I was able to perform one of my favorite pieces, ‘Dying Swan.’ It’s such an emotional dance, and to perform it at the Getty was just so amazing for me,” del Rosario said.

Del Rosario was given the chance to train with Ballet West when she auditioned for a spot on the official company after her six-week training program there over the summer.

“On the last week, [Ballet West] held auditions for company spots and second company spots. I didn’t expect anything because I was one of the youngest to audition. That was the cutoff age, 17, but I was still 16. The next day was my birthday. So, I wasn’t expecting anything, but then, I got the emails, and they’re like we like you. We like you enough to give you a merit scholarship, which is a full scholarship for their training,” del Rosario said.

Elizabeth del Rosario poses with the director of Ballet West, Adam Sklute. Photo courtesy of: Elizabeth del Rosario
Elizabeth del Rosario poses with the director of Ballet West, Adam Sklute. Photo courtesy of: Elizabeth del Rosario

Del Rosario is both anxious and excited for her new start with Ballet West.

“Like anything else, it’s going to be a long, hard struggle, but I know in the end it’s going to be worth it. I don’t think I’ll be in the first performance since I’m coming a little late. I know for my first performance with that company, it’s going to be the best thing I ever felt; that might be my new favorite thing,” she said.

She is currently juggling her regular courses, online courses and arduous practices for both Dance Company, of which she is a part, and her own extracurricular ballet.

“Right now, I’m still attending high school, but I’m also doing courses online to complete all of my high school requirements, so when I do leave this January, all of my high school credits will completed. I’ll just come back in May to graduate,” she explained.

Del Rosario will also miss Beverly and her family as she makes her move to Utah.

“When I leave, I’m of course going to miss my family, but I’m going to miss the school. I’m going to miss the teachers. It’s like going off to college. Everyone’s going to miss everyone, but since I’m leaving a little bit early, I’m going to miss the activities that I was able to do here,” del Rosario said. “I’m going to miss Dance Company that I was a part of this year. I’m just going to miss all of my friends. But, it’s okay. Life goes on. We’ll all see each other. It’s a small world.”

Artistic director of Dance Company Dana Findley expressed support for del Rosario’s decision to join Ballet West.

“We have truly enjoyed having Lizzie with us. She pushes the dancers to continue to strive to improve. She has been teaching ballet barre for us and fills in wherever we need her to. We are so glad she could perform with us for homecoming. We wish that Lizzie could have it all and get to perform with us in January and go to Ballet West too! I am thrilled for her– it’s an incredible opportunity and so well deserved! Lizzie is a beautiful dancer and young woman!” Findley said.

Del Rosario believes that learning more with Ballet West will ultimately help her attain her career goals.

“After completing training, which is one to two years maximum, then, you move onto second company, which is right below company,” she said. “I plan on moving up in the company and becoming one of their principal dancers, but my end goal as a dancer is to end up in New York, of course, and become a dancer with the ABT [American Ballet Theatre] Company, or NYCB [New York City Ballet]. As of right now, I’m really happy with Ballet West.”

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