Local dancers spent summer at nation’s top schools

Photo courtesy of Ballet Western Reserve
Nine local dancers, including, from left, Nicole Noakes of Canfield, Maeli Foley of Canfield, Halle Moran of Poland, Charli Littleton of North Lima, Lily Gelfand of Boardman and Izzy Aey of Canfield, spent their summer training at various institutes. They are members of Ballet Western Reserve.

Nine local dancers trained during the summer at renowned programs around the country, and one even traveled to London.

All of the dancers are members of Ballet Western Reserve in downtown Youngstown, which is being run by artistic director Virginia Hartman. She is a Boardman native and also trained at Ballet Western Reserve.

Hartman said she spent her summers during high school attending ballet intensives just like her students and recognizes their importance to a dancer’s success.

“The students are immersed in a schedule that will prepare them for a career in dance,” Hartman said. “The audition process alone is difficult, but to have so many Ballet Western Reserve students be accepted into these outstanding programs is proof that they are being given strong year-round training and guidance from the teachers here.”

Upon graduation, Hartman became a professional ballerina with The Richmond Ballet and The Atlanta Ballet.  For the past three summers, she has traveled to New York City for training and certification from the American Ballet Theater in the National Training Curriculum.

Maeli Foley of Canfield, a principal company member of Ballet Western Reserve, was accepted to New York City’s Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Foley danced the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in last year’s “Golden Nutcracker” performance.

“Going to study contemporary ballet in New York City was one of the best decisions I ever made,” Foley said. “I got to work with Complexions’ company members and Artistic Director, Dwight Rhoden, and I was able to study a style of dance that’s not offered here in the Youngstown area.”

Lily Gelfand of Boardman, also a principal company member, was selected to attend the San Francisco Conservatory.

“I feel very grateful to have studied in such a vibrant city,” Gelfand said. “The teachers encouraged and pushed our individuality, as well as our technique, and we were all motivated by each others’ energy.”

Other Ballet Western Reserve dancers attending summer programs included:

  • Hallie Moran of Poland, The Orlando Ballet
  • Charli Littleton of North Lima, The American Ballet Theater in New York City
  • Nicole Noakes of Canfield, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater
  • Izzy Aey of Canfield, Cincinnati Ballet
  • Anastasia Johnson of Canfield, The Royal Academy of Dance in London
  • Katie Reilly of Boardman, The Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
  • Megan Delaney of Poland, The Joffrey Ballet in New York City
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